One of the many gospels Apple delivered to tech bloggers today was Apple Pay. It's a magical sounding mobile payments system that will use near field communication (NFC) to let users pay for things in front of them through their phone. The magic might be lost on child CEO Lucas Duplan, who raised more than $30 million for Clinkle by telling venture capitalists he could do the same thing. He has not.
Apple's 800 million users will be able to upload credit cards to Apple Passbook, tap their phone on a payment terminal at one of the 220,000 partnering stores, and press their finger on Touch ID to buy. The novelty of Apple Pay is it that when Tim Cook says it will make credit cards obsolete—a promise made by many chief executives before him—no one rolls their eyes.
The announcement is a bad omen for companies like Square, but a real harbinger of doom for Clinkle, which has been hemorrhaging staff and has yet to launch. For some reason, Duplan thought it would be a good defensive posture to give a statement saying that Clinkle is not worried because it's actually making what Business Insider described as a "digital" version of one of those soon-to-be-obsolete credit cards. When I spoke to someone who used Clinkle in June, the source said there was a physical debit card along with the app. The iTunes description also says "The Clinkle Visa® Prepaid Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank."
Either way, Duplan is not very convincing.
"The news from Apple today does not come as a surprise — we've been anticipating for a long time," Duplan told Business Insider in an email. "Last year, we made the decision to focus our product around consumer engagement, not the hardware layer of storing payment instruments, so we are excited that this will give customers yet another way to use their Clinkle card. We look forward to working with Apple and others that will likely enter the space."
"Others that will likely enter the space." Dude, don't remind us that if Apple doesn't kill you someone else might.
To lighten the funereal mood, here's a gif sent to us in late August by an anonymous tipster who goes by JohnnyHasPun. By entering Duplan's email address into the site, you can skip the wait list and see what Clinkle has, or more likely had, planned.
This post as been updated to clarify that Business Insider said Clinkle could be offering a digital credit card, but both Clinkle and a source who saw an earlier version of the app says there's a physical card component. To contact the author of this post, please email email@example.com.
[Image via Getty; gif via JohnnyHasPun]