Apple has been expanding its mobile payments facilities in a couple of ways recently.
One way is by adding more banking capabilities to Siri, the voice assistant bundled with the iOS operating system.
The other way is by filing a trademark for Apple Pay Cash, a peer-to-peer payments service.
The second service, Apple Pay Cash, has not been launched yet, but the company is reported to have filed an application for the trademark with the European Union, and will include the new functionality with the new version of iOS at the end of this year.
The current Apple Pay system is available in several countries in Europe, and of course the US.
Also, as mentioned above, Apple is integrating more banking functionalities into Siri, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is the natural language-processing talking assistant in iPhones and iPads, and also Apple desktop computers.
Apple has added more than a dozen banks to its Apple Pay system, and some of them have also set up systems which allows customers to use Siri to check their bank balances and conduct some transactions.
Some might say Siri is artificial intelligence, which it might be, but currently it’s not being used to what is probably its full potential.
The limitation with such voice apps is that they often don’t understand what is being said to them by their human user, each one of whom speaks differently.
Which is probably why the Apple HomePod, which is enabled by Siri, is limited in functionality to simply playing music.
In fact, all the companies launching similar smart home devices are concentrating on providing high-quality speakers and sound quality – which will be essential anyway to further develop the devices’ conversational capabilities.
Moreover, Apple looks like it wants to invest more money into developing Siri as a platform, and some say the company forecasts its growth will be driven by Siri.
A key personnel change indicates Apple’s change of emphasis. Craig Federighi, who used to be Apple’s iOS and MacOS boss, is now directly responsible for Siri.
Siri was previously in the same brief as Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. If that stays the same, then it would seem Siri might become the gateway for many users to access the other services.
Siri may also be critical to Apple’s development of autonomous systems, whether it’s for driverless vehicles or anything else.