The biggest deal here is the security. The combination of encrypted storage and the “Secure Enclave” means that your credit card number is never stored anywhere that is accessible by, well, anyone … including you. When you pay for something the cashier doesn’t get to see your name, credit card number, or security code. The store does not have (or have a chance to lose, cough cough Target cough) your information. And if you lose your phone you can just turn off the payments system remotely – you don’t need to go through the rigmarole of cancelling your credit cards, because they were never lost.
Forget the convenience factor – the security is the real selling point.
UPDATE: The publication of the Home Depot security breach could not have come on a better day for Apple. At literally the same time that Tim Cook was standing on stage explaining that a key pillar of Apple Pay was that retailers will not get to see, handle, store, or process your credit card number, a major brick-and-mortar chain was admitting to why those selfsame retailers can’t be trusted with that information.
Two points that really stand out here: One, reading between the lines it appears that major banks have now infiltrated the skeezy underworld of fraudulent credit cards … they obviously have staff who are in deep enough that they can buy up enough stolen numbers to do a decent level of analysis on the product. And two, mainstream media outlets are finally starting to give Brian Krebs the credit he deserves when reporting this stuff. In the past you would see traditional publications report on incidents that were broken by Krebs without ever crediting him as the reason they started working on the story in the first place. Better late than never, I guess.