The card missing from our digital wallets

If you’re lucky enough to own a smartphone these days, as most people do, then you can most likely use it to replace your wallet. With Apple Pay and Google Pay, you can spend money without the need for cash for bank cards. Store Cards such as Tesco Clubcard can also be placed in your digital wallet. I even store my library card on my phone thanks to this app which lets you digitise any barcode based pass and place it in your Apple Wallet.  I’m so used to this situation now, that I rarely go out with a wallet on my person. Once train ticket machines started taking contactless there really was no need.  One less thing to lose, one less thing to remember.

However I ran into a slight hitch the other day when I ordered something online from for pickup in an Apple Store. I placed the order while walking through the shopping centre, knowing the item was in stock and would be ready for me to pick up within 30 minutes.  I paid using Apple Pay on my phone, and an order ticket was placed into my digital wallet. About 10 minutes later a notification appeared on my phone saying it was ready for pickup. Excited, I took the escalator to the upper floor of the shopping mall and walked into the Apple Store, phone in hand, QR code ready on the screen.  All went well until the Apple Store employee asked to see some identification. I had none. Why Would I? I use a digital wallet. In many respects, I am the prototypical Apple Customer, using minimal time from staff and making my purchase online using Apple Pay, from an iPhone. Yet they wouldn’t give me my new AirPods without seeing some form of identification.

While I understand that you can’t just handover expensive items without some kind of validation in place, I was surprised that Apple, of all companies, did not have a digital alternative in place. You could argue it’s not the role of Big Tech to be creating digital ID cards, and perhaps there are benefits to plastic-based identification. In the UK, thankfully there are no laws requiring citizens to carry identification (even when driving). That said, I’d love to see a solution that works in tandem with our existing systems and doesn’t exclude anyone who doesn’t own a smartphone, or wants to keep using plastic ID.

The awkward days of the Apple Watch are over – The Verge

We failed to anticipate how checking your Watch in the middle of a conversation would become just as rude as checking your phone, even and especially when it’s not intended to signal anything other than a knee jerk interest in what time it happens to be at that moment.
— Read on

This is very true, but I’ve found it’s less awkward if I exaggerate the gesture of looking at my Apple Watch, and scroll the crown slightly. Someone signalling “I’m checking a notification, which might be genuinely important” seems less rude than “I’m checking the time because I’m probably bored of this conversation”.

Forever getting “Please seek assistance” as you exit the train station? It’s your AirPods

I thought I was just unlucky. It seemed that around 50% of the time I tried to exit a train station by inserting my ticket into the barrier, I’d receive a message asking me to seek assistance. Whether starting or finishing the journey in my local town of Reading or further afield, it seemed to happen very frequently, while everyone else seemed to strut through the barrier with no problem at all.

Today it finally clicked. I’ve been putting my train ticket in my pocket along with my AirPods. The charging case has the same satisfying click as you close it as a premium brand car does when shutting the door. It achieves this using magnets. My theory is that the magnets are interfering with the magnetic strip on the train ticket.

Paper train tickets probably aren’t long for this world anyway, but if you’re also experiencing the humiliation of having to speak to an actual human being on your commute, check your AirPods or other devices bearing magnets aren’t near your ticket.