Ever since we first sampled the Starbucks app in September 2009, we could not help but wax eloquently how your iPhone will become your wallet. A deluge of ideas Apple has patented with NFC over time, and some interesting hirings, hint that the company is heavy into NFC. Then, in January, 9to5Mac heard from a developer at Macworld that iPhone 5 would have NFC and that MasterCard/Paypass would launch partners for an Apple-branded payment service that would span both iOS devices and Macs.
Fast forward to today, as the United States Trademark & Patent Office awards the company a major patent grant that covers the intricacies of the iWallet. According to PatentlyApple, this invention is supported by as much as 23 patent claims and dates back to the first quarter of 2009—indicating just how important it must have been to Apple.
The document outlines “techniques for implementing and defining financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account,” allowing parents to control spending of their children, for example. Financial transaction rules are also detailed that would allow for spending limits based upon different criteria, such as a particular time period or geographic region.
The really interesting part about this are the drawings included with the patent application depicting a future iPhone with Near Field Communications (see the above illustration). The drawings indicate the use of iTunes billing system for credit card statements and records. The iWallet app could also tie nicely with a number of other utilities Apple’s been researching, such as this iPhone app for buying movie tickets.
But what’s in all this for you and me?