Apple traditionally uses the Fall season to launch major new products, especially iPhones and iPods, and in precedent, it looks like the iPhone 5S may be set for a September or October release. More importantly, a built-in feature may forever change shopping habits and marketing techniques.
It’s that time of year again; everybody’s watching Apple with more intensity than a dog with eyes locked on the dinner table, but it’s not because we expect a major iPhone redesign. Actually, the iPhone 5S will probably look exactly like the iPhone 5, but there will be a different beast under the hood and a fingerprint reader on your home button, according to AppleInsider. More importantly, those changes could seriously alter the way businesses engage customers.
That brand-spankin’ new fingerprint reader may forever change the way consumers interact with their iPhones, and StableyTimes describes a few possibilities. We break down Stabley’s most important points into our easy-to-read summaries below.
+ Fingerprints may replace your passwords, including your lock-screen code. Passwords would become obsolete, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities and conveniences.
+ iPhones may replace wallets. We’ve heard it before, and we’ll hear it again. But that’s probably because the industry is trying to make it happen, and it has so far has been an unsuccessful venture because of security reasons. Fortunately, the fingerprint reader may prevent some security issues since no one can fake your fingerprint – at least not yet.
+ An API can open up the sensor to third-party developers, who may develop unthinkable ways implementing the sensor with their apps.
Of course, the above changes describe what’s most likely to occur WITHIN the iPhone, but the big deal is how a fingerprint-sensor-equipped iPhone will change shopping habits and marketing tactics out in the real world. Imagine the scenarios we’ve fantasized below.
Scenario 1: Retail Shopping
You walk by a store of one of your favorite brands: H&M Clothes. Your iPhone knows you love this brand because you recently installed the H&M catalog app, which is connected to a database of receipts that relates recent purchases credited to your email address (the same email address registered to the app). The store then pushes a special offer to your H&M app because you’ve been such a great customer during the first half of the year: “Congratulations! You now have $50 store credit to this H&M store. Expires in one week.”
Because your fingerprint now enables you to use your iPhone as a wallet, you pay using your iPhone. What isn’t covered by the store credit is instantly covered by a credit or debit card registered to the iPhone.
Advertisers can tailor special offers to best fit the targeted individual, so no one feels like they are getting left out. The bigger upside for advertisers is that it would be much easier to push consumers to impulse buy, which is important to retail stores and restaurants.
Scenario 2: Easier No-Interest Financing Offers
It’s pretty common for stores to push special offers with no-interest financing, which have a proven effect of boosting sales. A fingerprint-equipped iPhone could make it much easier to process applicants for such offers.
Imagine a new app called “ID Packer”. It sends “ID Packs”, or “IDPs”, to other secure devices in order to speed up application processes. An IDP would be a small packet of information that contains all the required details for a financing offer.
You would setup ID packer in advance, of course. It may load up all your basic info, such as name and address automatically, and you’d finish off by adding your social security number and monthly income.
The next time that you want to apply for a special offer, all you have to do is walk up to an application machine and open the app. Within the app, you would identify and target the application machine; then, you’d scan your thumbprint to confirm that it’s really you and you really want to do this. The app sends the details to the machine, and the machine instantly approves you or denies you.
Scenario 3: Online Shopping
Perhaps the only inconvenient thing about online shopping is the amount of data that you have to input to complete a purchase. With a fingerprint-equipped iPhone, you may be able to instantly push your data, including payment details, to any online store, and all you’ll need is a simple fingerprint scan.
Imagine browsing your favorite online store. You add all your products to the shopping cart, as usual, and you finally visit the cart to checkout. But instead of hitting the “Checkout” button, you hit a “Scan & Buy” button that requests a fingerprint scan from your iPhone. You scan your print, and in a matter of seconds, you’ve completed your purchase.
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