Apple Inc. is expected to release the latest version of its iPhone and wearable device Apple Watch Sept. 7.
The new smartphone reportedly is faster, has dual cameras allowing for deeper zooming without sacrificing clarity, no headphone jack and a pressure-sensitive home button that vibrates when pressed on instead of pushed in. The device will also run Apple’s next software upgrade, iOS 10, which the technology company also is expected to release Wednesday. Notable features on iOS 10 include one-tap checkout option Apple Pay on mobile websites for consumers using the Safari browser and voice-assistant Siri being able to work with other apps, such as ride sharing app Lyft.
While none of these features is exceedingly new, online retailers should take note of new features available to them, as Apple offers merchants a way to interact with shoppers who own a high-end smartphone, says Thomas Husson, vice president, principal analyst of marketing and strategy at research firm Forrester Research Inc.
In fact, a majority of mobile commerce transactions occur on iPhones, according to digital marketing vendor Criteo. 14.6% of e-commerce transactions occurred on an iPhone, compared with 8.8% on Android smarpthones, in the second quarter of 2016. This data is based on 3,300 of Criteo’s online retail and travel clients and excludes apps.
“Thanks to its ecosystem of brand partners, Apple is best placed to offer reach to retailers to engage premium customers and differentiated services to consumers on top of its hardware,” Husson says.
Apple Pay on mobile sites is one feature e-retailers should integrate on their sites, Husson says.
“Thanks to iOS 10, Apple will certainly showcase integration of Apple Pay on partners’ mobile websites, an opportunity for retailers to take advantage of the upcoming holiday season and to remove friction in the purchase journey,” Husson says. Apple Pay fees also could evolve into a substantial revenue stream for Apple, says Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. Credit card issuers, such as the bank that supplies the card, pays an annual fee per card and a per-transaction charge for every charge made via Apple Pay. Merchants don’t pay anything to Apple for Apple Pay.
51% of current iPhone owners plan to upgrade to the newest version of the device, according to an online survey in August of 1,000 iPhone owners ages 18-65 by mobile technology vendor Branding Brand. But the excitement that used to surround an iPhone launch has waned: Only 31% of consumers say a new iPhone model is a big deal, according to a marketing technology vendor Fluent LLC survey on Aug. 23 of 1,735 U.S. adults.
Ask attributes consumers’ lack of excitement to several factors: The device may be too expensive, especially now that consumers are paying more for the device out of their own pocket as fewer network carriers are subsidizing the cost, and most consumers who want a smartphone have one. Apple’s iPhone 6s, which launched last September, costs $649.
“Manufacturers have to roll out a new phone every year—it’s table stakes,” Ask says. “You need fresh products every year even if each new version isn’t as grand as an upgrade from 3G to 4G.”
For the Apple Watch, Apple is expected to announce updates that include a GPS chip for more accurate fitness tracking, a processor that can launch apps more quickly and the ability to use Apple Pay within the smartwatch’s apps. 11% of iPhone consumers currently have an Apple Watch, according to the Branding Brand Survey.
Apple’s iPhone is the most-used smartphone in the United States, as 43.1% of U.S. smartphone subscribers ages 13 and up own one, according to a three-month average ending July 2016 by web and mobile measurement firm comScore Inc.
Behind Apple, Samsung Electronics Co. has the next largest smartphone market share in the United States at 29.2% as of July 2016, according to comScore. But Samsung has hit a snag: The device manufacturer recalled its newly released Samsung Note 7 because of a faulty battery that has been linked to explosions of the phone when charging, the manufacturer announced Sept. 2. As of Sept. 1, 35 such battery malfunctions had been reported globally, according to Bloomberg News. Samsung started selling the device in August and has sold about 2.5 million units of the Note 7.
Bloomberg News contributed to this articleFavorite