Apple Wins Another NFC Patent, Next iPhone May Be Able To Make Mobile Payments
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
And just like that, Apple has some new patents which were just released today, this time involving that long rumored NFC technology which has been expected in the iPhone for a few years now.
NFC technology, as you may recall, allows users to transfer data to other NFC equipped devices by simply bringing them close to one another, or tapping them together. The most anticipated use of this “transfer of data,” of course, is mobile payments.
In these recent patent filings, iPhones are seen using NFC to control an Apple TV, video game system, sound system or anything else with an implanted NFC chip.
Essentially, this patent would turn an iPhone into a sleek and sexy universal remote as well as a sleek and sexy wallet. Many have been looking to Apple to start the mobile payment wave with their millions of iPhone users and massive sway. Though these patents have only come to light today, they were originally filed in 2010, around the same time these NFC rumors began to circulate.
Though NFC rumors have been quite persistent in the iPhone rumor mill, recent developments could be signaling that we may soon be able to buy our next coffee with our iPhones after all. Of course, you can already buy your coffee from Starbucks with their mobile card app, but I digress…
In March, Apple was awarded a patent from the US Patent and Trademark office for something called the “iWallet.”
According to Patently Apple, “Today, Apple has been granted a major iWallet patent…that generally relates to establishing financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account and, more particularly, to various systems, methods, and electronic devices configured to provide for the establishment of such rules.” This patent could also allow credit card companies to send customer statements through iTunes, as well as give employers the ability to simply pay their workers through a handset-based account. Very cool, indeed.
Late last month, the detectives at 9to5Mac.com said working prototypes of the new iPhone have the NFC technology built in, ready to take advantage of Apple’s new Passbook app, which was shown off at this year’s WWDC.
9 to 5 Mac backed the March patent filings, saying, “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.”
A few days later, the Wall Street Journal decided to investigate for themselves why Apple has been taking their time in rolling out an NFC smartphone. After all, many competitors, such as Nokia and Samsung have been giving their users the ability to transfer data and make mobile payments by simply waving their phone around. According to the WSJ, Apple engineers were set to roll out the functionality as soon as they could, but executives won out, opting to let their competitors do their market research for them.
As more and more rumors continue to mount in the months before an imminent iPhone release, it’s becoming all the more likely that the newest version will, in fact, give users the ability to make mobile payments, should they so choose.
Apple is expected to launch a new phone this fall, most likely in October.