The report says the service may launch this fall, enabling iPhone users to pay for goods with their devices in retail outlets. Apple has apparently discussed the plans with credit card institutions, according to the report, as a user’s banking information “would essentially be uploaded to the wallet”. Apparently, Visa is already onboard with the project.
9to5Mac reported last month that prototypes of the next iPhone contained Near Field Communications hardware. The tech could obviously be used with the PassBook app to create some wallet-type functionality, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The US Patent & Trademark Office published more patent applications today from Apple that indicated the company envisioned much more NFC capabilities than a Wallet app. The company apparently filed the applications between 2009 and 2010, and the graphics depict an iPhone interacting and controlling everything from a television and DVR to a standalone camera and a projector.
Patently Apple detailed the patent applications:
Our report mainly focuses on the new system as it relates to an iDevice controlling and interacting with a possible standalone television in addition to an expanded version of Apple’s current Apple TV styled device. The updated Apple TV could one day control cable or satellite television programming and video game play via a video game controller. This would really be a boost for Apple if users were able to play high end RPG video styled games with a standard styled controller. Further, Apple’s invention runs deep and they envision NFC ready iDevices being able to control standalone cameras, projectors, in-home security systems, lawn sprinkler systems, your thermostat, garage door and more. One of these fine days, future iDevices will finally support NFC; and when they do – watch out, because Apple will open the floodgates and release a new generation of applications noted in this report and others like their forthcoming iWallet. Will Apple’s next generation iPhone 5 finally be the one that will introduce NFC? Only time will tell.
We have previously been able to pull data from PreEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed “N41AP (5,1)” and “N42AP (5,2)”, which lead us to believe that the new iPhone will have a bigger 1,136-by-640 display. We also detailed a lot of the hardware (here), but we forgot one very important bit of information. Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication controllers directly connected to the Power Management Unit.
The implications are obviously monstrous. With the recently announced PassBook application (which we detailed prior to its announcement while speculating about an NFC tie-in), Apple will be set to compete with Google Wallet and Microsoft’s similar service that unveiled last week. Apple could tie in with a payment processor like Citibank’s PayPass system for credit card transactions—or it could become a payment processor of sorts with its hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file at iTunes.
NFC would also allow iPhone users a quick and easy way to share files from one iOS device to another.
As the debate over whether Apple will put an NFC chip inside iPhone 5 continues, a new report hints at interesting possible uses that go beyond contactless payments. Specifically, an iPhone 5 with this chip could double as a portable login system allowing you to run your purchased Mac App Store applications on a guest Mac system as well as access, edit and save your documents remotely via the MobileMe cloud, an unnamed insider told Leander Kahney in an exclusive Cult of Mac story:
According to our source, who asked not to be named, when a NFC-equipped iPhone is paired with a guest machine, part of the user’s profile includes the apps they’ve purchased through the Mac App Store. The icons for their apps appear on the remote Mac, but aren’t downloaded, our source said. But if the user opens an app, it is downloaded temporarily to the computer for use. When the NFC connection is broken, the apps are deleted and the computer returns to its previous state.