Kate Rooney and Hugh Son for CNBC:
Apple was working on the investing feature at a time of zero interest rates during Covid, when consumers were stuck at home and spending more of their time and their record savings in trading shares, including meme stocks like GameStop and AMC, from their smartphones.
Apple’s conversations with Goldman began during that hype cycle in 2020, two sources said. Their work progressed, and an Apple investing feature was meant to roll out in 2022. One hypothetical use case pitched by executives involved the ability for iPhone users with extra cash to put money into Apple shares, one person said.
But as markets were roiled by higher rates and soaring inflation, the Apple team feared user backlash if people lost money in the stock market with the assistance of an Apple product, the sources said. That’s when the iPhone maker and Goldman switched directions and pushed the plan to launch savings accounts, which benefit from higher rates.
The status of the stock-trading project is unclear after Goldman CEO David Solomon bowed to internal and external pressure and decided to retrench from nearly all of the bank’s consumer efforts. One source said the infrastructure for an investing feature is mostly built and ready to go should Apple eventually decide to move forward with it.
MacDailyNews Take: This would be built right into Apple’s Stocks app, we assume, and work not just on iPhone, but also iPad, Mac, and maybe even Apple Watch (Apple’s Stocks app currently exists for all four platforms). If Apple moves forward, it’ll be bad news for Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, etc.
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