Apple’s partner used familiar code-name for top secret payments project

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Apple’s insistence on secretive behavior is well known. When it came to entering mobile payments with Apple Pay, that veil of secrecy didn’t drop for a second — with Apple insisting on some pretty stringent security measures, despite dealing with some of the giants of finance.

The code-name it chose for one of its partners on the project might strike you as a bit familiar, however — since it was later re-used as the name for Apple’s latest iteration of OS X.

“Our first code-name was Yosemite,” Barry McCarthy, president of Financial Services at FirstData, told me in an interview. “Later on when we found out that was also the name Apple had selected for its new OS, we changed it to Project Acadia, after another U.S. national park. We weren’t allowed to use or even say the name of the technology company we were working with — which was of course Apple.”

A spokesperson for PMorgan Chase bank, one of Apple Pay’s most prominent partners, noted that it had been working with Apple since the summer of 2013 on the project — but that only a quarter of the 400-plus employees who worked on it knew the mobile payments partner was actually Apple.

McCarthy describes Apple as being full of “incredibly bright individuals who understand mobile payments [more] than any other folks from other industries I’ve met before. What they really understood was what users would want from this, and how they’d like to interact with a payments system. They had a really clear vision of what they wanted to achieve.”

Being that other tech companies have tried and failed to bring NFC payments to the mainstream, it will be interesting to see how Apple fares in this area. As masters of UX, they’ve certainly got more credibility than most.

Source: Fast Company