Concerns for Apple’s iPhone iOS 18 ‘Tap to Cash’ Feature

iOS 18 will feature ‘Tap to Cash’
When Apple’s iOS 18 ‘Tap to Cash’ feature is made available later this year, iPhone users will be able to transfer money by holding their phones together

Apple has shared more details about the launch of its new ‘Tap to Cash’, a peer-to-peer (P2P) feature which allows iPhone users to transfer money between each other simply by holding their phones together. 

Set to roll out in Autumn 2024, as a part of iPhone’s iOS 18 update, ‘Tap to Cash’ does not even require users to have each others’ phone numbers. It can be used to effortlessly pay someone back at dinner, or buy something at a garage sale or local market. However, some have shared deep misgivings over the new feature. 

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Apple: Expanding data sharing through a simple ‘tap’

There are an estimated 1.4bn iPhone users in the world, totaling 21% of the world’s smartphone population.

Apple Pay has become one of the most ubiquitous means by which users leverage mobile payments, to quickly and efficiently make a payment without the need for a card or PIN. 

Now, by launching ‘Tap to Pay’, Apple has pioneered the first operating system to let two people transfer money through a simple touch of a phone. Other related Apple Pay iOS 18 updates will also let iPhone users redeem rewards and access instalments for eligible debit and credit cards. 

Whether Apple’s latest feature encroaches on other P2P payment services like PayPal, or Venmo in the US, remains to be seen. If there’s one thing ‘Tap to Pay’ is reliant on, it’s locality. Users will need to be in the same vicinity to complete P2P transactions, whereas Venmo transactions can be completed from any US-based location (for PayPal it's worldwide). The ability of ‘Tap to Pay’ to make a significant impact on existing P2P payments leaders depends on the most prominent transaction types P2P is used. 

Payment transfers for online ticket purchases, for example, may not be popular on ‘Tap to Pay’ thanks to the likely distance between users, whereas restaurant payments may see a spike in ‘Tap to Pay’ use as opposed to PayPal or Venmo transactions. 

Apple: Integrating OpenAI with Siri

Indeed, the announcement of ‘Tap to Pay’ has been somewhat overshadowed by the announcement that OpenAI’s ChatGPT will be used by Apple’s Siri voice assistant from iOS 18 onwards. Apple’s surprise partnership with OpenAI came alongside its new ‘Apple Intelligence’ suite of new on-device processing AI-powered features. 

Apple's Senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi said of the announcement: "Apple Intelligence puts AI models right at the core of your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, protecting your privacy at every step." 

The announcement caused quite a stir with OpenAI Co-founder Elon Musk, now estranged from OpenAI Co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, who claims OpenAI has foregone its founding principles, and that its partnership with Apple represents “an unacceptable security violation”.

Musk added that workers at his other companies – including EV pioneer Tesla and SpaceX – would be banned from using Apple devices, should OpenAI’s integration with Apple be completed. He said that employees would be able to check their devices at the door, where they would be stored in a Faraday Cage.


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