Apple is fighting a long, grinding campaign. Their goal is the adoption of Apple Pay, their mobile payment system, and the battleground is the billions of financial transactions that happen every day. According to Horace Dediu, a leading mobile industry analyst, “There are no decisive battles won or lost, only the relentless pressure to make progress against a reluctance to change.” In other words, the true enemy isn’t the competition in the mobile payment system space – it’s the nonconsumption by customers who are already comfortable with cash and card swipes. And Dediu thinks that Apple is winning.
Dediu likens it to a war of attrition: a slow-moving operation in which the winner is the only one left standing. “When seen this way, the challenger must compete through persistence. It’s impossible for Apple Pay to decisively defeat non-consumption in one battle. It takes literally millions of decisions for adoption: each consumer, each merchant, each bank, each point of sale. It’s a relentless grind of pitching, selling, demonstrating and shaming into action.”
His point is, while we may not see many dramatic successes in the fight for Apple Pay, the last three years have been a slow but sure accumulation of advances that are adding up to a bigger victory. What’s more, Apple Pay is only one battle in the long-term project of digitizing your entire life: “Beside credit cards and cash, inside your wallet are more items that need to move into your devices: access cards, passports, driver’s licenses, IDs.” Dediu cites the mobile boarding pass as a bellwether success of digitization.