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The iPhone 7 and Its Impact on Mobile POS

Earlier today, Apple announced the iPhone 7. While dedicated Apple fans may be excited to have their choice between two different shades of black, the biggest news for merchant service providers and others who offer mobile POS technology is that the upcoming iPhone won’t contain an audio jack. Historically, most mobile card readers in the United States have used the audio jack, so we’ve already had a lot of customers reach out to us wondering what changes they need to make to their product lines.

A product launch announcement doesn’t mean an immediate market shift
While we think the news is significant in the longer run, it’s going to take a long time for those changes to play out. 100% of iPhone and iPad devices in the field today contain audio jacks. While that share will decrease in the coming years, the reality is that the vast majority of iOS device owners in the coming months will utilize devices containing audio jacks.

In a BYOD world, you have to support the devices your customers have, and many of them use Android
True mobile POS solutions are designed to work on whatever smartphone or tablet a merchant already owns with a low cost card reader. Comscore reported earlier this year that 52.7% of smartphones in the US run the Android operating system. Today’s iPhone announcements are unlikely to change the Android ecosystem in the near future.

Make sure your mPOS provider has Bluetooth on their roadmap
While it will take many months for the share of mobile devices without audio jacks to become significant, the smart providers will move quickly to offer devices that connect via Bluetooth. The Bold B550 device is available to ship this month, and supports EMV and NFC payments for First Data merchants today, with other processors coming soon. Longer term, we are looking into the feasibility of offering other Bluetooth based reader options. Given the minimum 6-12 month product development cycles required to complete EMV certifications, providers who hesitate to invest in Bluetooth now will find themselves left behind in the future.

Concluding thoughts
We don’t think that today’s Apple announcement will have significant effect on CardFlight or our customers’ businesses during 2016. Our Eclipse A200 card reader remains the most popular product and we expect that to remain true for the foreseeable future. Simplicity is valuable, and many of our resellers will continue to focus on the Eclipse A200 reader as their primary/default option. While Apple may have removed the audio jack from the iPhone 7, an adapter cable is included with it so that audio jack devices like mobile card readers can still be used. We expect the adapter cable to be compatible with our audio jack readers, something our engineering team will be testing as soon as the adapter cables are released.

At CardFlight, we’re committed to supporting as broad of a range of merchant needs as possible, so you can expect that we’ll have a diverse set of hardware options available to resellers and merchants going forward, and that the CardFlight team will be here to help guide our customers towards the best solutions for their needs.

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Derek Webster

Derek founded CardFlight in 2013 after transversing the States from San Francisco to New York. Serving as our CEO, he first fell in love with payments over a decade ago. Derek lives and breathes mobile payments, and makes it his mission to revolutionize the way we pay. If he’s nowhere to be found on land, you’ll surely be able to find him in the seas, racing on a sailboat.