By Chand Bellur
July 3, 2020 at 1:20 p.m. PT
- The Apple Card, launched in late 2019, offers a one-of-a-kind titanium credit card with a supporting app featuring transparent information about payments and interest.
- Apple has gradually been transitioning iOS apps, such as Apple Music and iWork, to web apps.
- Apple recently introduced the Apple Card website, enabling users to manage their credit cards without an iPhone or iPad.
The Web is Alive and Well
Wired magazine famously penned a cover story proclaiming that the web is dead. The article put forth the notion that apps will replace websites. After all, we all want to do our taxes on a tiny smartphone or tablet screen. Or maybe not?
All clickbait aside, the World Wide Web never died. In fact, with so many people staying at home, there’s been increased usage of the web. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter grow web usage as people use their mobile apps less. Mobile apps are great if you’re away from home or stealthily stealing time from your employer. When people have unfettered access to a proper computer, web versions of apps are often more appealing.
It’s mostly about screen size. A bigger screen allows the presentation of more information. Of course, some mobile apps have awful usability, with overcrowded screens and features hidden in deeply-nested menus. When given the opportunity, I almost always prefer the web experience on a computer to a native mobile app.
Apple is starting to transcend the iOS experience. For some time, the Cupertino company offered the iCloud website. This site hosts some of the most powerful apps in their ecosystem. In addition to the complete iWork suite, the iCloud site hosts the Find iPhone app. After all, how do you find your iPhone with an iOS app, when it’s lost?
Apple’s renewed interest in the web goes far beyond closing up catch-22’s. The web is a stable platform. It’s not the moving target that iOS is. After all, no one owns the Internet. The often-heard mantra that competition is only beneficial for technology hasn’t proven true for mobile operating systems. Competition between Android and iOS bloated both operating systems with needless features, requiring overly-complicated development techniques.
A web-based Apple Card portal makes it easier for end-users to access their account from anywhere. This is great for Apple and Goldman Sachs, the issuing financial institution. Customers can manage and pay credit card debt from anywhere without an iOS device. This seems to underscore Apple’s willingness to provide a better user experience than other card companies.
Apple Card Website Offers Better Statements
Upon visiting the Apple Card website, users can’t help but see the unified design of content and apps. The site works like any other Apple website. With most users opting in to two-factor authentication, the process is familiar. It’s possible for those who have lost their device to authenticate with the site without having a code sent to an iPhone or iPad.
Once in the Apple Card web portal, there’s little confusion as to what to do. As it stands, the site offers fewer features than the mobile app. For example, one can’t look up their virtual Apple Card number or manage Daily Cash.
This doesn’t mean the site is useless. It’s the best and easiest way to review credit card statements. The statements are readily accessible and easy to read on a big screen. This simple feature is great for those who need to report business costs or deal with occasional corporate expenses.
More to Come?
Given that Apple has been rolling out major web apps in the past few years, one can expect more to come. Apple Music’s debut on the web was a huge deal. It allows listeners to enjoy music on any device without installing iTunes.
The Apple Card website is relatively new. As with any sensible technology, they started simple but will likely add more features. One can expect functions to access the virtual credit card and manage Daily Cash. The user interface will also likely embrace design features like the colorful payment/interest “wheel” found in the iOS app. For now, the Apple Card site is simple yet still useful. Users can make and schedule payments, get support, and easily browse statements. Expect more bells and whistles to come.