For decades the tech world has been attempting to respond to one of the greatest problems ever to plague the first world: too much junk in our pockets.
This weeks announcements from Apple may have people forgetting about loose change problems for good. With the release of their new payment system this fall, Apple hope to have us tossing out our wallets (and the money in them) in exchange for digital purchasing and a brand new Apple Watch.
But how will these new products fare in Korea, where the products are not as fresh and face some stiff competition?
Apple Watch vs. Galaxy Gear 2
As the home of Samsung, its no suprise that Korea is an Android-centric market. Any Apple product release is inevitably followed by a Samsung comparison, so here’s how the Apple Watch stacks up to the Galaxy Gear 2:
|Apple Watch||Galaxy Gear 2|
|Size||38mm and 42mm||41mm|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart rate||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart rate|
|Connectivity||Wifi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0||Infrared Blaster and Bluetooth 4.0|
|Charging||Through a magnetic attachment||Micro-USB dock|
|Battery||TBD||2-3 days of use|
When it comes to specs, the watches are not all that different. Apple Watch comes out the clear winner design wise, making Samsung’s Gear look cheap and clunky in comparison. But even the best designed smartwatch begs the question: is this a product anybody wants?
Aside from tech fans and early adopters, if Samsung’s track record is anything to go by, the answer is probably not. The first iteration of Galaxy Gear was a commercial flop. A short battery life and an identity crisis over whether to be a phone or a watch turned people away from buying it.
Add to the fact that only 9% of the Korean market is Apple based, and it’s unlikely we will see too many units moved in the Land of the Morning Calm.
Apple Pay vs Kakao Pay
Although Apple Pay will only be available in the US when it rolls out this October, it bears mentioning for the Korean market.
Consumers in the United States have not traditionally used their phones to pay for goods and services at retail stores. Mainly because of the ubiquity of credit and debit cards and a lack of other, digital options. But Apple is trying to change that with their new pay service, which will integrate payments into your already existing Apple accounts and they’re making sure that you feel secure.
Usability wise, the system is simple. Since iTunes already has your credit card information, making your first payments is easy. You will be able to add additional cards by entering details yourself, or simply snapping a photo of the card you want to use.
The new fingerprint identification system available on iPhones adds an extra level of security not available on other digital payment systems, which typically require passcodes. Apple Pay will also not store credit card information on its servers. Instead, the information will be stored on a secure chip right on your device. And it’s not even your real card number. Apple will verify your card information with your bank, then store an alternative card number on the phone. That way when a merchant’s system is hacked, only the alternative number is compromised.
This is the type of tech that has the potential to do extremely well in Korea’s small Apple market where consumers have long been used to making payments with digital systems. Though apple will have some catching up to do by the time they finally release Apple Pay in Korea.
Last week Kakao made the announcement for its new pay service, Kakao Pay. The service is similar to Paypal and requires that customers type in their passwords to make payments. While this might seem like more of an inconvenience than that the fingerprint mechanism Apple uses, it’s a much simpler system compared to the complex authentication requirements currently used for online shopping in Korea.
The service has already launched for Android users and will be available for iOS in November. Kakao Pay users can register up to 20 credit or debit cards. BC Card Co., Hyundai Card Co. and Lotte Card Co. have already signed up to work with the platform and many more are expected to follow suit.
Kakao Pay will first offer users gift coupons that they can purchase, and extend its payment system over time to be used in major bookstores, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce.
Apple will have its work cut out for them in Korea should they decide to roll out their own payment system to compete in Korea. Kakao is used by over 90% of smartphone users, both Android and iPhone. If Kakao Pay is successful, it is unlikely that a large portion of the small Apple user base will make the switch by the time Apple decides to roll out its services here.
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