If you love Starbucks, and you have an Apple Watch – your life just go easier. How you ask? As of yesterday, you can reload your Starbucks Card using Apple Pay right on your Apple Watch. You have always been able to pay with your Watch, but in order to reload the card, you had to use the built-in Wallet app, which required you to use your iPhone. Apple first added the ability to use Apple Pay in apps with last year’s watchOS 3 update. There are very few app that take advantage of this feature, so far, so it’s nice to see Starbucks making use of it.
Most Starbucks locations actually let you pay directly from your Apple Watch, using Apple Pay. But using your debit or credit card and not a pre-loaded Starbucks Card doesn’t let you earn points and rewards. But now that reloading the Starbucks Card can be done from both your iPhone and Apple Watch, this limit is less restrictive. Loading the Starbucks Card ahead of time is an added step in exchange for rewards, but using Apple Pay to conveniently and securely load funds without saving your debit or credit card to the Starbucks app is a nice feature.
Some people are saying that this feature makes the Apple Watch “more useful”, but I’m not sure that this feature delivers that. What I mean is that this feature, in itself, doesn’t mean that your Apple Watch is suddenly more useful. It gives you the ability to do something in an easier way, but I don’t think that increases the value of the Watch in any great way. Do you? Don’t get me wrong, I think the feature is a great idea. I’m totally on board with it, but I am not convinced that someone is going to see this feature and think they’re suddenly going to want to buy an Apple Watch.
Last night, I was working out at the gym. I hadn’t really been paying attention to my fitness yesterday. It was a busy day and I was focused on other things. I had just started my workout and my wrist vibrated. Which I thought was weird. It wasn’t the haptic vibration that tells me there is a new message coming in. It was the vibration that tells me something is happening in my Activity app. So I looked at my wrist, and during my workout, my Watch told me that I had met my Move Goal for the day. About 20 minutes later, my Watch then told me that I had met my Exercise Goal for the day.
The point I’m getting at here is that I think this feature is more useful than being able to reload my Starbucks Card. Again, I’m not suggesting that it’s not a great feature, but I do think we need to consider what our words convey. “More useful” says that it wasn’t useful to begin with, and that suddenly this Starbucks feature is going to deliver on that. I don’t think that Apples engineers spent hundreds or thousands of hours improving the OS in order for it not to be useful. That being said, if you do use Apple Pay at Starbucks, your life has become just a little bit more easy as you can now reload your Starbucks Card using your Watch.