Apple is scheduled to make a batch of announcements on Tuesday that will reportedly include details of the newest iPhone models and Apple’s iOS 11 software release, including a Face ID capability that could be used for payment authentication in concert with Apple Pay, according to The Verge and other published reports.
To what extent that payment authentication capability could be applied to online or in-app purchases from retailers supporting Apple Pay was not clear prior to Tuesday’s announcement. Face ID was previously understood as a feature that iPhone8 users could use to unlock their phones, but The Verge noted that Guiherme Rambo, an IOS developer in Brazil, discovered that it could also be used to "confirm purchases in iTunes and the App Store, as well as autofill for Safari [Apple’s browser]."
Retail sector companies, including Ikea and Shopify, also made announcements in connection with Apple’s news. Ikea announced an Ikea Place augmented reality app over the weekend that will make use of new AR capabilities in the device, according to Trusted Reviews, while Shopify launched Shopcodes, a QR code-scanning capability that leverages native camera features in the new iPhone to allow shoppers to scan QR codes and be taken directly to a product page in a Shopify merchant’s online store.
It's been a little more than 10 years since the first iPhone was launched, and today's event is being touted as a pretty special 10th anniversary event, packed with new hardware and software details. On the hardware side, Apple is reportedly set to unveil the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the higher-end iPhone X, along with plans for a new Apple Watch with mobile connectivity.
On the software and service side, Apple will unveil more details of its iOS 11 software update, which the company said will likely include Apple Business Chat, a chatbot alternative that businesses such as retailers can use to communicate with customers. But, reports over the last few days suggest much more, starting with the Face ID feature.
It's not clear yet how extensively Face ID will be integrated with Apple Pay, but there is reason to believe Apple is ready to take biometric payment authentication and use of facial recognition technology to a new level, eventually giving shoppers what amounts to a pay-with-your-face capability. Face ID could eventually replace Apple Pay's current Touch ID fingerprint-based mode of authentication, forcing its mobile payment competitors to hunt down similar capabilities, and giving retailers another reason to accept Apple Pay, as Apple continues to enhance payment security at a time when security fears may be hitting a new peak over the Equifax data breach.
Meanwhile, the new augmented reality capabilities should give developers of AR apps even more technology to play with at a time when up to 80% of shoppers appear to be interested in trying such apps, according to a recent L.E.K. Consulting survey. However, not many smartphone models fully support those AR apps.
It's not clear yet which of the new iPhone devices will support the new Face ID and AR capabilities. Some reports have suggested the iPhone X will have both. Either way, it opens the door for retailers to create more secure payment methods and reach more customers through augmented reality apps.