walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Invisible Money

Benedict Evans posted some stuff recently about Apple and cars, and thinking about market share, including a few remarks about the Apple Watch

http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2015/2/28/notes-on-cars

http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2015/2/28/market-size

Benedict Evans is a really smart man and a great writer, but he kind of drives me nuts. When I'm being finicky, I focus on things like this:

"But you don’t know about the internet as the key driver for consumer PC adoption, and you don’t know how many office typewriters will become PCs, nor that typing pools will disappear and every executive will write his own emails instead of dictating letters to his PA."

What a mess! Of course consumer PCs were an enormous market (yes, they got even more enormous later!) long before the internet was even remotely a factor in buying one (this really sticks in my brain, because I worked at Spry when if you wanted your computer connected to the internet, you bought Internet in a Box. You know, 1995 or thereabouts). Also, "his" for the executive. Grrr.

That's if I'm being finicky. (Also: "Who looked at the Model T Ford and predicted Wal-Mart?" Answer: Clarence Saunders. But never mind that now.) If I can let that all go, however, something much weirder stands out. Specifically, Money.

In a lot of ways, for a long time now, automakers have subsisted as much on their financing schemes for loaning money to customers to buy their cars as they have on the cars as objects for sale.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/16/us-autos-financing-insight-idUSKBN0ER0E820140616

So a really good question to ask is whether Apple has the institutional capacity to run a financing operation on the kind of scale that a typical automaker does today? Answer: oh heck yeah!

I've gone on and on and on in various places about what I think will ultimately move the Apple Watch: a combination of a known willingness on the part of humanity to wear valuable crap on their wrists (we've been doing it for thousands of years, we're not likely to get all allergic to that _now_) and we are sitting at the cusp of a transition to NFC/RFID payment schemes, which are a good fit for Sticking On a Wrist (cf Magic Band at WDW).

I have no idea whether Apple will make a car or part of a car or license stuff to other automakers or what. But if they do, I have high confidence that they could correctly arrange for their customers to be able to make affordable payments over a period of time for the privilege of at least using, if not actually owning, whatever they decide to produce. I also have no idea what _else_ anyone is going to do with that Apple Watch, but they are for sure going to use it to screen calls, monitor various notifications and pay for stuff. I know that's going to happen, because we're already doing that with our phones, and it'll be easier and less prone to loss if it's strapped to us. Plus: less dorky than those belt clip phone holsters, amirite?

ETA:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/watch/11439847/Apple-Watch-will-replace-your-car-keys-says-Tim-Cook.html

And now we can strap our car keys to our wrist, too. Woot!
Tags: our future economy today, travel planning
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