Disney ‘MagicBands’ showcases massive potential for Apple’s iWatch

“On March 5th Appleinsider published what we consider to be one of the most important Apple pieces of the year,” Jason Schwarz writes for Seeking Alpha. “It reveals that Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL, has done away with turnstiles at the park’s entrance as visitors are now greeted by workers holding iPod touches. This change is part of a larger initiative to create an entirely new payment platform within the resort. Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced that the company plans to provide customer wrist bands called ‘MagicBands’ that will act as a visitor’s hotel key, pass card, and credit card. Along with the adoption of iPods, Disney is incorporating other elements of iOS that will enable Fastpass ride ticketing, maps, information on ride wait times, and the ability to view menus and book dining reservations. With the implementation of MagicBands, the era of the wallet is one step closer to extinction.”

“It’s interesting that Disney CEO Bob Iger sits on Apple’s board of directors and has decided to release a MagicBand just as rumors are heating up regarding the iWatch,” Schwarz writes. “Perhaps Disney is giving us a glimpse as to what is being discussed behind closed doors at Apple. Those who suppose that an iWatch would simply track time and mirror iPhone pre-existing functionality are ignoring the potential that we’re seeing from Disney’s initiative. Because an iWatch is attached to the body it is inherently more secure than a wallet or phone. As such, it is ideally suited to serve as a facilitator of secure financial transactions. If iWatch becomes the permanent version of Disney’s MagicBand it will enable consumers to seamlessly checkout at grocery stores, gas stations, malls, and restaurants. It can serve as a car key, hotel key, house key and work credential. Which casino will be the first to revamp its payout platform to iWatch? Identity theft and credit card fraud will diminish. Financial management within families becomes easier to control. Important identification like drivers licenses and passports could be digitally stored. A wrist device has the opportunity to carve out its own niche in the mobile revolution.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As anyone who’s every been to a major sporting event knows, such a thing would be indispensable when gathering liquid dispensables.

Beyond that, with all of the other things we can all imagine iWatch could do, everyone would want one.

We have room on our wrists next to our Nike FuelBands*, Apple (better yet, build FuelBand capabilities right into iWatch, please). Bring it on, Apple!

*Which we have to recharge every 3-4 days and the FuelBand does far less than we’d expect an Apple “iWatch” (“iBand?”) to do.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ellis D.” for the heads up.]


  1. Yes, I’m sure you’re a big consumer of the Disney brand.

    An Apple watch has zero widespread appeal. A watch is a past technology, form factor and functionality

    1. Just because something is on your wrist, that doesn’t make it a watch. Think medical ID band, jewelry the changes color to match the skin or clothing, bio feedback, medicine reminders, locater, alarm when you leave or loose something like a child, pet, other iOS device, …

      Think Different

    2. We’ll see how this turns out. A small device like this has a lot of potential. Just as the iPad often trumps a desktop or even a laptop due to portability a small gadget the size of a watch could be a great accessory to an iPad or iPhone because it provides immediate access. You can see it at a glance whether it is on your wrist or the handlebars of your bike. Also, if it is attached to your wrist it provides different security than a loose object like a phone or tablet.

        1. Lol John, way to go! May the grammar police never sleep, remedial english and average Americans go hand in hand. BTW, I’m amongst the worst affenders out here, but I’m always ready to listen, always ready to learn.

          Go Apple!

  2. These creative applications sound exciting. But couldn’t this all be done with the same technology in current Contactless credit cards? Is having it wrapped around your wrist, or built into your phone (NFC), really more convenient than in your pocket? Unless it’s very difficult to remove from your wrist it doesn’t sound particularly secure.
    I personally don’t look forward to Apple revolutionizing payments. Certainly they’ll get greedy, make it proprietary, lock everyone else out, and begin a fragmented world of incompatible payment systems. They have seemed to do this in many areas that consumers would be much better served by a compatible standard that many companies agree upon. Sometimes I fear that Apple has become far more occupied by making money than changing (or improving) the world.

    1. Rubbish.

      Apple is concerned. That is why it didn’t jump on the half-baked NFC bandwagon just to add a feature to a spec list. 1) There are legitimate security concerns with NFC. 2) It would require retailers to purchase and implement expensive new hardware systems at point of sale.

      With PassBook, Apple is using existing CreditCard infrastructure and stores don’t have to do anything new. Stores don’t need to add any equipment. They scan the virtual card or pass on your phone face as they would any other coupon or loyalty card they issue.

      A customer likes it because he uses his existing iTunes account and gets instant feedback and updates from pass-issuing store.

      A retailer likes it because they can promote their services and products, give instant updates, get feedback, improve customer service and gain customers, etc. Yes, when a store signs on it gives Apple a cut of sale made using the pass or coupon. How is this different from anything else, like Groupon or something? The retailer is getting a service from Apple that helps the retailer provide its customers more service.

      Anyone else can do this. Approach a store and have them use your loyalty card system. Hey, go out and design some paper cards and stamps, print them up and sell them to a big retailer. Wear a sandwich board and walk up and down the street, giving out flyers to promote a retailer. Anyone can do it, just get out there and innovate and get some retailers and service industries to use your service!

      Apple isn’t making a “new, proprietary system”. It’s just from your regular Credit Card, Debit Card or Checking Account. You can still use other means to pay, for goodness sake!

      Apple’s saying to the retailer, hey, if you like the idea of coupons and passes and loyalty cards and stuff, guess what, we can set you up with some virtual ones (no printing and distribution, etc.). We find that Apple customers like using their iPhones, and we have found a great way to add some cool dynamic features to virtual cards. Wanna try them out? We think it will help you build business, just pay us a cut for whatever you sell via that avenue, but you can be as creative as you want.

      1. “If iWatch becomes the permanent version of Disney’s MagicBand it will enable consumers to seamlessly checkout at grocery stores, gas stations, malls, and restaurants. It can serve as a car key, hotel key, house key and work credential.”

        The article seemed to envision an iWatch doing much more than displaying coupons or tickets as in Passbook. If the technology in a watch were sophisticated enough to be your car key, that suggests to me a complex system to be collaborated on between Apple and various companies. I merely hope that these systems could be jointly implemented for all platforms, rather than each company reinventing the wheel. These are straightforward tasks that should be in everyone’s future, and need not be a selling point against competing platforms. I hope to not see advertisements of awesome feats touting, “Exclusively with Apple iWatch”.

    2. Apple really isn’t that monster you are making them out to be. Fragmented, proprietary, locking every-one else out?

      You don’t seem to remember that Apple pushes open standards more than most…

      Apple has PDF at system level. Apple pushed for HTML 5 and open source H.264 video over Flash and REAL and Windows DRM. Google started to help, then spited themselves and the whole world just to push different codecs than Apple (codevs with a mess of potential royalty issues). MS has history of tying up the web — IE, proprietary plugins, active-x, .net, SilverLight, etc. And their DRM plans were draconian, but were unmanageable with all their OEMs so instead of playing for sure, they stabbed their partners in the back with Zune. Sony also had some incredibly proprietary DRM.

      Apple plays all major open formats. It makes the only device that has apps from all book publishers (and resellers like Amazon). Other devices only carry their own apps. And on and on.

      This whole meme about Apple being “closed” and everyone else being “open” (whatever that means), just has to stop. It was getting hard to say with a straight face 10 years ago — unless someone has an axe to grind or just uncritically listens to all the “open” propaganda out there. Hey, did you know, Apple wouldn’t be here if Bill Gates hadn’t opened his wallet and made a little investment 20 years ago.

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