Today’s iPhone X launch is in many ways Apple’s victory lap after a decade of redefining the smartphone category. However, change is again in the air, as Apple attempts to rewire the way its users interact with their mobile devices by replacing Touch ID with Face ID.
Brand adoption of Apple Pay — and by extension, Touch ID — remains low, according to L2’s Mobile report. Touch ID has been available as a means of payment or login authentication on Apple’s Safari browser since 2016, yet brands aren’t using it to replace passwords at login. Only 21% of brands use Touch ID for checkout, indicating that most brands don’t see Apple as a transactional platform for e-commerce, even though the company has consistently shipped between 11.7 and 19.7% of new smartphones each quarter since 2013.
Brands can expect that Apple’s new Face ID will follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, moving from login aid to payment expediter. This leaves brands in a quagmire from an adoption standpoint. The iPhone X is Apple’s only smartphone to offer Face ID, and Touch ID is likely to remain an integral part of Apple’s hardware feature set. Thus, the only realistic route is for brands to closely integrate with Apple Pay, which should be a no-brainer considering the security features that Apple touts.
The role of biometric ID and authentication also has repercussions beyond mobile as Apple continues to port its mobile technologies into the desktop space. Apple has crept up to fourth place in the PC market and has stabilized its market share in the face of annual declines. Its flagship MacBook Pro also features Touch ID functionality, granting access to Apple Pay.
Mobile does not exist in a vacuum, and brands must be quicker to respond to the latest mobile technologies. If Touch ID adoption is a reliable indicator of their response times, they need to pick up the pace.