Apple's been testing this, in part, at Apple Park for employee badges and I got a chance to see it in every-day use during the event (it even made it into the Tim Cook Mission Impossible intro of the event video).
It doesn't seem like magic the way tap-to-pay did because we've already gone through the era of cards. What is seems like is incredibly more convenient and secure magic because you no longer need the card. The watch or phone you always have with you, protected by your own biometrics, has replaced the card.
I'm guessing this will be a huge win for accessibility as well, since they'll gain all the benefits of all the years of technological investment Apple's made — something no non-smart card system could ever deliver.
I'd love to see Apple open this up not just to schools but to public and private institutions of all sizes and kinds. I want my watch to not just buzz me into my office but my home and hotel room.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of that. (And the beginning of Apple opening up CoreNFC to all sorts of strange and wonderful developments.)
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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.