With the release of iOS 6, you will have a new app on your home screen called PassBook. This was announced at WWDC and will take all of your cards, coupons, etc and store them away so that you can ditch physical items. But what about credit cards? There’s an iPhone for that…
Many sources are chatting about the new iPhone and certain prototypes containing NFC chips. 9to5Mac reports that they discovered NFC chips (Near Field Communication) while looking through iPhone 5 prototype code. NFC would allow for mobile payments at any supporting retailer with only your iPhone in hand.
Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication (NFC) controllers directly connected to the power management unit (PMU).
With services like Google Wallet and Microsoft’s recently announced service, it only makes sense for Apple to jump in this market. SITA’s CTO Jim Peters is also convinced that Apple will bring this new payment technology to the next iPhone, and retailers should start prepping now.
Opinion is that Apple is going to incorporate NFC into Passbook. Apple just thinks about how they can make it really easy for the user, and then they figure out how to monetise it. They don’t think about how to monetise it and then tell the user what they can have. It doesn’t work like that,” said Peters.
“There aren’t any transactions in it yet, but I think that’s how Apple is going to sneak up on the industry. They are going to get people used to using it and then all of a sudden they will allow credit cards to be used in there, on the next iPhone, which will include NFC.”
He added: “There is a lot of debate that NFC will never take off because of all the arguments. But you need to get ready, this is coming. This is going to happen. By the end of the year the majority of smartphones that you go and buy will have NFC on them. If in October the next iPhone comes out and it has NFC on it, it’s game over.
Apple even patented an iPhone with NFC technology.
Mastercard’s Ed McLaughlin had a chat with Fast Company that also pointed towards Apple integrating NFC technology in the future.
…when asked to give an estimate for when smartphone payments would become commonplace (in other words, would 2012 be the year of NFC or contactless tech?), McLaughlin demurred–and may have dropped a hint about Apple’s future in the industry.
“The timeline is always as rapid as it makes sense for consumers,” he says. “That’s a combination of having a critical mass of the merchants, which is what you’re seeing right now, and getting devices into the hands of consumers. I don’t know of a handset manufacturer that isn’t in process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready.”
So that would include Apple then?
“Um, there are…like I say, [I don't know of] any handset maker out there,” McLaughlin says. “Now, when we have discussions with our partners, and they ask us not to disclose them, we don’t.”
It only makes sense for Apple to enter this market and really, I don’t think the question is “if,” I think it’s “when.” NFC aims to rid the world of physical cards. PassBook just so happens to be the perfect app to do that.
Apple’s new PassBook app stores all of your “passes” and savings cards for other stores, why not credit cards? It’s entirely possible we’ll see this happen later in the year. NFC in an iPhone could change the world.
What do you think?