Over the last few years, there have been a number of platforms that allow phone users to make mobile payments. Some of the most well-known of these platforms include Google Wallet, Square, and Isis. However, phone maker giant Apple, which essentially revolutionized smartphones during the last decade, is strangely inactive when it comes to developing mobile payment platforms.
That is, until now. As reported by Wired, Apple's next iPhone will reportedly sport its own mobile payment platform. And this new feature is expected to be highlighted during the upcoming September 9 event, wherein the latest iPhone iteration -- the iPhone 6 -- will be officially introduced by Apple. Fueling the anticipation is the fact that the platform will involve near field communication (NFC).
It may come as a mystery to most people why it took so long for Apple to join in on the mobile payments front. After all, the company has always been in a comfortable position to excel in this particular area. For one, the company is in possession of a large credit card database due to iTunes (conservative estimates peg the number at more than 800 million users). And that's not even mentioning the millions of people that use iOS-run devices today. Each of them could be potential users of an Apple mobile wallet, provided the company launches one.
It was not for lack of trying, though. For several years, Apple has been filing numerous patents related to mobile payments. As recent as January early this year, one published patent described how two wireless technologies (like Bluetooth and NFC) can be effectively paired to facilitate a payment transaction safely. Any sensitive information like bank details and credit card information can be stored in a secure hardware component in the handset.
Yet another Apple patent tackles a payment system that reads context and location -- when the situation calls for it, the platform provides options for the user like coupons, reward cards, etc.
Apple has also been purportedly in discussion with several payment companies regarding how best to protect sensitive financial data pertaining to users. Indeed, if the company's e-wallet platform is to take off, it is imperative that a secure system be implemented in order for customers to feel safe when participating in mobile payment transactions.
As to the specifics of that system and the mechanics of the mobile payment platform in general, Apple has currently (and wisely) not provided any clear details yet. However, the phone maker's actions recently should give industry experts an idea of what to expect. Apple has been actively trying to push its Bluetooth LE-transmitting iBeacons to retail establishments all over the United States. And while the mobile giant has not made iBeacons' full capabilities known during the WWDC earlier this year, there is a strong possibility that it will do so at the upcoming September 9 event.
Touch ID could also play an important role in bringing Apple's mobile payment platform to light. In addition, it would not be a surprise if Passbook, Apple's hub for coupons and tickets, would be integrated with the e-wallet system.
Nothing is certain at this point. However, that may change after September 9.
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