Apple Pay reminders and media responsibility

Apple has escalated the reminder process for completing Apple Pay set up on iPhone and iPad. Not everyone is happy about it. Unfortunately, not every publication is writing competently on the topic either.

From The Wall Street Journal.

Though payment analysts say the service speeds up checkout times and is more secure than traditional cards, Apple Pay has struggled to achieve broad adoption in the U.S. Many remain skeptical that it is more secure, including Jack Frederick, a 29-year-old professional comedian from Queens, N.Y., who prefers using his credit card directly.

Juxtaposing the expert opinion of analysts who have investigated and affirmed that Apple Pay "speeds up checkout times and is more secure than traditional cards' with a — I can't believe I have to type this — the rando opinion of a comedian, is journalistic malpractice. It's another example of feelings-instead-of-facts FUD-spreading that makes those who would otherwise benefit most from a technology fearful of it and less likely to use it.

And it's not the only malware-in-written form presented in the piece:

"Everyone is doing essentially the same trick," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "It's really antitrust behavior."

Kay compares Apple Pay notifications in OS to Microsoft's bundling of Internet Explorer in Windows, something that is only possible when source, writer, and editor conspire to misrepresent what antitrust behavior and monopoly abuse actually mean and requires.

The original marketing around the story seemed to imply it was difficult to turn the reminder off, which it isn't — something that's impossible to believe all involved in it didn't know prior to publication — and even the current version fails to tell anyone who didn't figure it out on their own just how exactly to do it.

It's terrible for readers because, if every time someone turns on a light, a respected publication yells "fire!" just to get attention, it increasingly desensitizes people to the point that actual incendiary activity may well get lost and ignored amid all the noise.

It's also a missed opportunity. There's an important discussion to be had when it comes to simplicity vs. discoverability. But it has to be done seriously, and with the goal of informing and empowering people.

Setup Buddy, the process that onboards you to iOS products has grown longer as Apple has added new features, like "Hey, Siri", Apple Pay, the virtual Home button, Display Zoom, and more. Every feature added to the chain makes the process more tedious to long-time customers. Every feature removed makes that feature effectively invisible to new customers.

Reminding people to set up Apple Pay via a badge on Settings or a notification is potentially even more annoying for people who understand what it is and choose not to use it. For those who weren't sure or weren't prepared, it's potentially more helpful, especially considering the experience, accessibility, and security of Apple Pay, which far, far exceed traditional plastic cards.

If Apple is being too heavy-handed here, and too many people find the badge and/or notification annoying, I expect the company will stop it. If many people end up using it and Apple Pay adoption goes up, I expect Apple to (judiciously, I hope) keep experimenting with the on-boarding process across its range of features.

(This particular implementation does feel retro-fitted on, though: The process to dismiss the reminders is non-obvious due to the pre-existing language used in the dialogs, and should be fixed either way.)

Lastly, to make sure I'm practicing what I preach here's how to turn off the Apple Pay reminder:

  1. Tap the red badge on the Settings app icon.
  2. Tap Finish Setting Up Your [iPhone/iPad]
  3. Tap Set Up Apple Pay
  4. Tap Cancel.

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Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

9 Comments
  • "From The Wall Street Journal. Though payment analysts say the service speeds up checkout times and is more secure than traditional cards, Apple Pay has struggled to achieve broad adoption in the U.S. Many remain skeptical that it is more secure, including Jack Frederick, a 29-year-old professional comedian from Queens, N.Y., who prefers using his credit card directly. Juxtaposing the expert opinion of analysts who have investigated and affirmed that Apple Pay "speeds up checkout times and is more secure than traditional cards' with a — I can't believe I have to type this — the rando opinion of a comedian, is journalistic malpractice. It's another example of feelings-instead-of-facts FUD-spreading that makes those who would otherwise benefit most from a technology fearful of it and less likely to use it." You're misrepresenting what is being said here. They aren't using the opinion of a "random comedian" to say that Apple Pay isn't as secure or using his voice as an authoritative figure on it the insecurity of Apple Pay. They are saying "most people aren't convinced" and giving an example of someone who isn't convinced. So you're point about them using a "random comedian" really is pointless. It's no different than saying, "Many people don't like chips, such as this guy who doesn't like chips". That's not the same as saying, "Apple Pay is insecure, here is a comedian who can verify".
  • LOL. No. It doesn’t work that way. And it shouldn’t work that way. And we can’t let it work that way. Because, in that way lies the dumbing down of readers and the madness of media. You don’t present, weight, and fail to put in context an expert opinion with a random, uniformed one.
  • Excellent points Rene. All media needs to do much better.
  • But that very quote specifically says that payment analysts say Apple pay is quicker and more secure. They acknowledge the expert opinions that are available. They are simply saying, "Not everyone is convinced". You're clouding what they are saying. News casters consistently go into the streets to gather the opinions of actual people in the face of available information. Why is this any different? Its rather clear what they are saying in that quote. They reference the expert opinions that say Apple Pay is secure. Then they explain that despite those opinions, Apple Pays adoption has remained low. Why has it remained low? Because not everyone is convinced, here's an example of someone who isn't convinced. Thus, here is why adoption has remained low.
  • Rene spreads FUD just as much as any media outlet but he covers it well with movie jargon references and his over use of super as a descriptor.
  • Yes. It works that way. If you were a journalist with a hint of objectivity it will be clear as day to you. You can’t just quote snippets out of context like that. It’s intellectually dishonest and looks designed to make it look way worse than it is, because you know most people here will nod and agree without going back to check the source.
  • While the points raised here are valid, a talk about media responsibility from you is rather rich....
  • How media is like medicine?!? Can't compare that way. No medicine, people can die. How media can compare? LOL..
  • I have to agree. The media is not a curative or a single-minded blob, it is made of self-interested individuals (which is the same with all human activities).