Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduced many exciting new software features and improvements at its recently concluded Worldwide Developers Conference, including new Continuity and Extensibility features, several Siri enhancements, a HealthKit data storage platform, a Health app, a HomeKit software platform for home automation products, and an entirely new programming language called Swift. However, while Apple’s entry into the connected home market and the healthcare market were widely expected, one of the Cupertino-based company’s unexpected announcements was the opening up of its Touch ID authentication system to third-party developers.
Among the many other developer-end enhancements that Apple unveiled at the WWDC last week was a new Touch ID application programming interface (API). The new Touch ID API allows third-party apps to take advantage of this convenient biometric authentication system. While this API is available to all types of app creators, it may prove to be especially popular for mobile payments service providers such as eBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) PayPal or Square, since Touch ID eliminates the hassle of entering passwords to authenticate a purchase. This opens up a huge potential Apple user base for third-party mobile payment services, since the Touch ID system has been widely adopted by iPhone 5S owners.
As noted by Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi at the WWDC, less than half (49 percent) of iPhone owners used a passcode before Touch ID was introduced. However, now 83 percent of iPhone 5S owners use a Touch ID/Passcode to secure their devices. In other words, convenience led to higher usage rates. It is quite likely then that the implementation of Touch ID for a mobile payments service will similarly boost the number of users who make purchases through their iPhones.