Don't underestimate Apple on Pay and Watch

And online, merchants worldwide are constantly seeking ubiquitous, low risk payment methods, which Apple Pay promises to deliver even over the internet.

Moreover, Apple majors on protecting the privacy of user data and the security of each transaction. MEF's own Consumer Trust Report earlier this year which polled over 9,500 mobile consumers indicated that 30 per cent of mobile users cite trust as the single largest obstacle to using mobile to purchase goods and services whilst 42 per cent think it's extremely important to know that an app is collecting and sharing their user data.

Taken together, it suggests that Apple Pay will have a big impact on physical purchases in the US, a small impact on them elsewhere – but potentially energise the broader market for Mobile Money and Mobile Commerce everywhere.

Watch out for Apple

Apple's eagerly anticipated entry in to the wearable technology market has come in the form of its Apple Watch which combines various classic mobile functions like music and messaging with health and fitness monitoring.

It tracks the wearer's movement with built in sensors and feeds that information back to Apple's Health app, allowing the review and analysis of the data that the watch has captured.

Apple's new NFC payment platform, Apple Pay will also be available via the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch so contactless payments can be made simply with the flick of a wrist.

It even tells the time.

This is CEO Tim Cook's first new product category innovation and although it's Apple's first wearable computer, it is entering a crowded market place with Samsung, Pebble and Sony already established.

Earlier this month more than 10 new smartwatches were released at IFA, Europe's largest electronics trade show in Berlin, almost all of which run Google's Android Wear software.

But in fact, despite early signs of momentum in the wearables market, the technology is struggling to become mainstream. It's a bustling category that has seen more publicity than sales; indeed research firm IDC estimates that 2014 will see only 19 million smartwatches on the wrists of consumers.

The narrow range of compelling use cases of today's smartwatch, together with its high cost, limit its appeal to the very affluent or very health conscious consumer.

As well as the Watch's user interface innovations, it is most likely that Apple has identified an exquisite yet huge latent user need – perhaps people wearing clothes without pockets. It's a beautifully designed item, and one senses that Apple have gone to a lot of trouble to know more about how people will respond than we can see today.

To succeed, it will also need to capture the imagination of third party developers who believe in the opportunity for monetisation and scale. So the company has created a special developer programme: WatchKit with a large community of existing iOS developers to draw on for app ideas.

There are also plenty of heavyweight third parties readying dedicated Apps for the 2015 market launch including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You will also be able to control the temperature in your home with the Honeywell app or tell your friends that you are about to head out for a run with the Nike app.

If it works, the mobile ecosystem will see demand for a whole new category of watch-optimised apps. That can only be good news for our industry.

There are interesting questions to resolve. Will consumers accept the day-long battery life, charging it every night, or will they wait for a longer-lived next iteration? What will transpire to be the compelling appeal of the device?

And since much of the Watch functionality depends upon tethering to an iPhone, will the Watch sell the phone, or the phone drag the Watch? As an industry, we can only applaud this new initiative and hope that it, and its competitors and imitators, succeed.