If Apple did get into the money transfer business, it would be a late entry into a crowded market, much as Apple Music was. But the sheer size of Apple’s installed base and its ability to push these new services out to people quickly via an operating system update without needing to prompt for any new app downloads or account sign ups still shouldn’t be underestimated. At last count in December, Apple’s music service had racked up 20 million paid subscribers after a little less than a year and a half. This isn’t too shabby compared to the 50 million milestone that Spotify just hit after a little more than eight years on the market, though that is up from 30 million in March of 2016 and 40 million in September. Apple Music obviously hasn’t stopped Spotify from growing quickly, and an Apple-backed money transfer service wouldn’t necessarily upend that market, either.
As of iOS 10, Apple lets third-party peer-to-peer payment apps offer iMessage and Siri app extensions to allow their apps to integrate more deeply with the rest of the operating system. Whether an Apple-owned service would be able to do extra things that those third-party services can’t isn’t clear.