Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook took the stage at the WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California, on Monday to talk about Apple’s success, its newly-launched mobile payments service Apple Pay and hinted about what’s to come.
The company’s payment service had a tremendous success, according to Cook, after being launched only a week ago. In three days after the debut, there were activated more than 1 million credit cards to work with Apple Pay. It already received more transactions than all other “contact less” payment methods combined.
“And we’ve got the whole rest of the world,” the Apple CEO said. “We’re only in the U.S. right now … but the early ramp looks fantastic. It’s sort of that ‘ahh’ moment. You use the phone and that’s all you have to do.”
Unfortunately, for Apple, the service has been met with some pushback from retailers who have joined to launch their own mobile payment system called CurrentC in 2015. Recently, Rite-Aid and CVS cut off support to Apple Pay. Other companies supporting the rival payments system include Best Buy, Target and Walmart.
“It’s a skirmish,” Cook said in response to a question about the retailers’ moves. “Merchants have different objectives sometimes. But in the long arc of time, you only are relevant as a retailer or merchant if your customers love you.”
In launching Apple Pay, the iPhone maker hopes to lock in more customers for its mobile devices by enhancing their overall utility. Industry experts say it stands a chance of becoming the first widely used payments feature on smartphones, reports Reuters.
Tim Cook also explained why the old school 160 GB iPod Classic had to go, saying that the only problem was that the company simply couldn’t get the parts to build it.
“We couldn’t get the parts anymore, not anywhere on Earth,” Cook said. “It wasn’t a matter of me swinging the ax, saying ‘what can I kill today?’”
He continued: “The engineering work was massive, and the number of people who wanted it very small. I felt there were reasonable alternatives.”
Before Cook took the conference stage, Jack Ma, the co-founder and chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, expressed his hoped to establish partnership with Apple, as well as with its newly-launched Apple Pay service.
“I hope we can do something together,” Ma said of a potential partnership with Apple.
Cook, who just completed a four-day tour of the country, himself believes that China is a “key market” and said that his company is focusing on bringing the online payment system to the country.
“We want to bring Apple Pay to China… I’m convinced there will be enough people that want to use it. It’s going to be successful,” says Cook. “China is a really key market for us… Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list.”