It’s been previously rumoured that Apple’s next-generation iPhone would include near-field communication (NFC) technology to allow for new services — specifically, a mobile payments platform that was patented years ago called “iWallet.”
Wired’s Christina Bonnington on Thursday said the iPhone 6 will indeed include NFC technology, citing “sources familiar with the matter.”
We’d previously reported on how Apple could make a big play in mobile payments with an NFC chip, which would be paired with the company’s Touch ID fingerprint security system that launched on last year’s iPhone 5S.
Currently, iPhone users can purchase iTunes and App Store content with their fingerprints, but by broadening the scope of what the iPhone can interact with thanks to NFC and Apple’s own iBeacons, users could soon pay for goods and send money to each other with only their iPhones and their fingerprints — no wallets necessary. (Learn more about iBeacons here.)
Awarded to Apple in March 2012, the “iWallet” patent describes a way to let users control all their financial accounts and transactions on their iPhones. They can also view their credit card profiles, see messages from their banks, and if a child owns an iPhone, Apple created parental controls in its “iWallet” system so they can set spending limits on their children and even request authorization from the parent — for purchases above a certain price limit, for a certain number of purchases, or any purchases at all — via their own iDevice.
Apple’s mobile payments platform would leverage the billing information already associated with one’s iTunes account, which is used to purchase iTunes content and App Store apps.
A payments system like the “iWallet” would help businesses do work but also manage, track, and exchange financial information. And thanks to its recently announced partnership with IBM, Apple could push all its devices even further into the enterprise.
Hopefully, the iWallet platform would also be able to link to Apple’s other apps like Numbers so you can learn more about your own finances and spending habits.
“An Apple-based payments system could eventually involve an expansion of revenue streams into promotions and coupons with retailers, but this type of functionality could also be done with Apps from others (and already is, in many cases),” Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes said in a recent note.
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