Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced several new features and updates during its Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 (WWDC22) which started Monday.
BNPL Entry Confirmed
Among the most important highlights, the company launched a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution, CarPlay enhancements, two M2-powered new laptops, and multiple software updates for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
Perhaps the most appealing of all announcements was Apple’s plan to launch its own BNPL feature, known as Apple Pay Later. The feature, which will become available as a part of the upcoming iOS 16 update, will be integrated into the Apple Wallet app. The users will be able to choose to pay using the BNPL option when making payments via Apple Pay.
The tech giant said the new feature will allow users to split their payments into four equal installments, which they will then be able to complete over a six-week period, with no interest or extra fees. Apple users will make the first payment upfront, and pay each of the remaining installments every two weeks, the company said.
“Apple Pay Later makes it easy to view, track, and repay Apple Pay Later payments within Wallet. Users can apply for Apple Pay Later when they are checking out with Apple Pay, or in Wallet,” the company said in its release.
Apple’s foray into the fintech market is seen as the company’s plan to challenge the industry giants such as Klarna and Affirm. However, Apple started focusing on personal finance a few years ago, when it rolled out the first Apple Card, a credit card with no annual fees.
Katy Huberty, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said Apple’s decision to launch a BNPL feature represents “a continuation of Apple’s focus on adding personal finance features to the Apple platform, following the 2019 launch of the Apple Card and the March 2022 acquisition of Credit Kudos.”
Analysts said that the focus of BNPL providers remains the same – to lure consumers that have limited access to traditional credit options and turn them into “fully established customers” by ultimately providing them with an entire suite of banking services.
In addition, analysts at KeyBanc believe that the new BNPL feature could be considered a major boost for the broader industry growth.
Other Event Highlights
Apart from BNPL, Apple also announced a major enhancement to its CarPlay offering, which will be able to take control of car displays and other functions such as speedometer and seat heaters. The new generation of CarPlay technology will also be compatible with numerous aspect ratios, including portrait and landscape, and will be capable of adapting to multi-display dashboards.
The enhancement will make CarPlay even more integrated with the car systems, making it capable of controlling traditional mechanisms including a tachometer, EV battery level displays, speedometer, and temperature gauges, among others – allowing drivers to turn on seat heaters, control air quality, change climate controls, and more.
City analyst Jim Suva praised the upcoming CarPlay enhancements, saying he expects those to advance “Apple’s ambitions in the auto industry.”
Rod Hall, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, said the new CarPlay upgrades could ultimately push Apple to start offering services using car sensor platforms. The analyst said he views the new enhancements as positive as it appears they will notably improve the user experience.
He also focused on other Apple’s WWDC announcements, saying that the most important move for the company’s short-term profit was the M2 revamp of the MacBook Air.
Apple stock price reacted in a muted manner as Tim Cook took to stage to present new products and features at the much-anticipated WWDC22 event. Apple stock buyers are now forced to wait for a new catalyst as shares look to erase some of the YTD losses recorded so far.