Apple’s presentation for the new App Clips highlighted some very Spoon-y real world scenarios: Paying for your morning coffee from Blue Bottle, discovering a restaurant nearby, and getting recipes for Drop-enabled connected appliances.
Typically, you would have to download three different apps to to engage in those three scenarios. But with App Clips, the user pulls down just a bit of the app through NFC, QR codes or special Apple Clips codes. The “Clip” pulled down allows the transaction to proceed without having to create a new account (because it uses Apple Sign In) or a credit card (because it uses Apple Pay). Android users already have something similar through that OS’ Instant Apps.
App Clips still needs to be adopted by the place you’re doing business with in order to work, but it’s easy to see why eateries would want to in this pandemic world. A ton of people use iPhones, and even though restaurants are re-opening, customers want to minimize human-to-human contact there, which means more contactless payments methods.
Apple is pitching this as a way to discover new apps, but it seems more like a way to avoid downloading them. Part of the problem with connected appliances, or contactless payments is that you have to download the app and create an account and enter your credit card number. A first world hassle to be sure, but a hassle nonetheless when you’re in a hurry. If I can just scan a QR code to grab a recipe from Drop or pay for a cortado from Blue Bottle without having to go through all the traditional rigamarole, well, I’m all for it, I’m tired of managing so many app accounts.
Apple Clips could open up a new micro-transaction business model for home appliance companies like Drop and June. Instead of signing into a service for a whole recipe book, I could just pay for the recipes I want.
The are potential downsides for companies participating in App Clips. How much of a cut is Apple taking on this quick transaction? Will that cut be worth it? How much data will Apple will share with the Clip participant? Will your local coffee shop get the sales data and analytics generated through Clips? Or will Drop know which customers are downloading which recipes? Knowing Apple, they probably won’t.
App Clips will put the onus on companies to make the full versions of their apps worth the full download. What kind of loyalty programs or features will make a permanent place on my homescreen worth it?
Clips make make contactless payments easier, but they could also clip some companies’ app-related wings.