iPhone NFC: 'Apple, photos and security ... What could go wrong?'

Plus: 'Naturism ... you don't need to be totally naked'

QuoTW This was the week when Apple released their newest iteration of the iPhone and revealed the long heralded iWatch, sorry, justWatch: and told fanbois and gurrls that they could start paying for stuff with their mobes. But you knew that already.

What does it all mean? Gartner veep Van Baker reckons that Apple has finally caught on to the phablet trend:

The issue is more that Apple had a shortcoming, they have not very effectively addressed the screen size. They have pretty much answered all the objections that have been in the market, they are taking away all the advantages that competitors have.

While fellow Gartneroid Michael McGuire pointed out that the whole Apple Pay thing was likely to be mighty lucrative for the fruity firm:

It is going to be interesting to see, because you have a single player controlling so much of the ecosystem - that is what we have been waiting for with NFC. Google has a certain approach in that when they come out with these technologies, they enable ecosystems to form. However, Apple already has a prebuilt ecosystem.

He’s not the only one who thinks so. More than 220,000 merchants will accept contactless iPayments and both Visa and Mastercard plan to support the tech. And Dave Hobday, MD of processing outfit Worldpay, also agrees:

If the iPhone 6 lives up to the hype, it could take a whole swathe of consumers one step closer to ditching their wallets, but things won’t change overnight. Retailers should be looking to boost investment in new payment readers when it’s clear customers are ready to use them en masse. We’ve seen a 248 per cent increase in contactless payments since 2012, but it has taken eight years to get to a point where consumers are comfortable enough to really start using the technology.

There’s no doubt Apple has the clout to change consumer behaviour, but we’re not yet at the stage where retailers will lose a sale because they can’t take mobile payments.

The system wasn’t universally worshipped, however. Fujitsu believes that Apple’s missed a trick by using NFC tech with its Passbook app and Touch ID fingerprint reader instead of more rigorous biometrics. Director of retail banking in the UK and Ireland Anthony Duffy said:

At a time when many in the market are moving towards biometric for payments, Apple’s decision to go for NFC – a technology that up until now has struggled to clearly stamp its mark on the payments industry - is a bold one. While Apple’s implementation will undoubtedly help NFC recapture interest, the industry needs to keep working towards the adoption of more advanced payment technologies – such as biometrics – which will enable retailers and payment companies to provide a more secure service for their customers.

Naturally, security was also an issue. While some were onboard with what the fruity firm has done so far, Brian Honan pointed out in a tweet that the enrolment process involves taking a picture of a card – and what with the iCloud nude celeb leak, Apple doesn’t have a good record on picture security right now:

As for that justWatch, Canalys reckons it’s the tipping point the smartwatch market needs, though Apple’s upcoming reign could be shortlived. Analyst Daniel Matte enthused:

By creating a new user interface tailored to its tiny display, Apple has produced a smartwatch that mass-market consumers will actually want to wear. The sleek software, variety of designs and reasonable entry price make for a compelling new product. Apple must still prove, however, that the final product will deliver adequate battery life for consumers.

But both Apple at the top and those at the bottom will need to beware of the growing popularity of wearables, veep Chris Jones warned:

The basic band vendors, such as Fitbit and Jawbone, will enjoy the advantages of their lower pricing for the immediate future. Eventually, however, stronger smartband competitors to the Apple Watch will likely emerge and push smartband pricing down, threatening the basic bands. This market will undergo disruption similar to that suffered by feature phones when smart phone prices fell.

But is anyone going to wear one of the damn things? Apparently, nudists will. Andrew Welch, spokesman for British Naturism and Young British Naturism, said that naked people would quite like justWatches, not because they don’t have anywhere to keep their phone, but because they don’t have built-in cameras.

Naturism is typified by people not wearing clothes. But you don't need to be totally naked. Some people wear jewellery, others cover up a little. It's always useful to have a watch and just like everyone else, we like to keep our phones close to hand. So yes, I think naturists will use the Apple watch.

Most people have a bag they carry around, so it doesn't present any kind of problem. Our environments are generally safe, so most people have no hesitation dropping their stuff on the lawn - don’t laugh - including valuable items.

[However] there are people who try to infiltrate our meetings to take surreptitious photographs, which is exacerbated by the ease of taking snaps using phones. Taking away that ability would be a benefit, because with the iWatch you don't have that fear.

Don’t you just hate it when you and your college roommates get together and create a killer app and then just when you’re about to get tons of venture capital cash and become a Silicon Valley luvvie, they dump you from the founders list and pretend you never existed? It seems to happen all the time. The latest ousted founder, Reggie Brown of Snapchat, has won not just an undisclosed settlement, but an acknowledgement that he was kind of instrumental in the whole thing. Co-founder Evan Spiegel admitted:

We are pleased that we have been able to resolve this matter in a manner that is satisfactory to Mr. Brown and the Company. We acknowledge Reggie’s contribution to the creation of Snapchat and appreciate his work in getting the application off the ground.

Though it wasn’t just that Brown contributed to the disappearing selfie app – he kinda invented it. The statement also said:

Reggie Brown originally came up with the idea of creating an application for sending disappearing picture messages while he was a student at Stanford University. He then collaborated with Spiegel and Murphy on the development of Snapchat during its early and most formative days.

We don’t know how much money he got, but that statement has got to be a nice slice of humble pie for Brown to enjoy.

In Blighty, MPs have warned that the goverment's roll out of smart energy meters to homes and small businesses is likely to be a big waste of time and money. The Public Accounts Committee pointed out that the project is going to cost around $10.6bn, which is likely to come out of consumer pockets in heftier bills, and will only save the same consumers a measly £26 a year.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said:

The Department is depending heavily on assumed competition in the energy industry to control costs and deliver benefits. Relying on market forces to keep costs down may not be enough on its own to protect consumers.

On top of that, by the time the rollout is finished by the end of 2020, the system will probably be redundant because we'll all have smart meter apps on our mobes or something similar, she added:

Evolving technology suggests that customers could receive the information on their smartphones, making the in-home display redundant.

[But] energy suppliers will be required to offer in-home displays, even though customers may not want or use them. Consumers will have to pay for them even though they might already be out of date.

Online protests over net neutrality were on again this week, slowing down service on a number of sites to support provisions for the issue in the US. Battleforthenet organised a campaign in which sites put fake “loading” images and icons to make it look like pages were taking ages to load. The protest aimed to show what the group reckons will happened if ISPs are allowed to create special “fast lanes” for internet traffic that they control and charge for.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Rainey Reitman urged folks to keep up the pressure on the Federal Communications Commission:

For months, the FCC has been collecting comments from the public about its proposed net neutrality guidelines, and hundreds of thousands of people have already spoken out. But we’re fast approaching the deadline for public engagement through the rulemaking process: September 15 is the end of the public comment period.

That's why the day of action on September 10 is so important — it’s our last big push to get the general public to speak out about net neutrality before the deadline.

While the National Cable and Telecommunications Association said that the common carrier provision, which would give the FCC more control over carriers, would slow everything down:

Just imagine if ISPs had to stand in line and fill out forms and wait for permission to increase broadband speeds, add Wi-Fi hotspots or create new TV Everywhere services. What would that look like? It would be a net disaster.


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