When Apple added an opportunity to buy books, music and videos wirelessly from iPhone, it was a huge breakthrough for the company and its customers since it provided a lot of convenience. Nowadays e-commerce services in the pocket are no longer a breakthrough. But what about opportunities to pay for other things using a smartphone? Apple considers this a big opportunity for its mobile platform.
Virtual wallets inside smartphones can become a big thing in the future since they can support multiple payment systems, quickly gain offerings or coupons from multiple companies and be easy to use. Google has already introduced its Google Wallet platform with a number of partners, but it has not really taken off. Apple has been quiet about its mobile payment plans, but recently admitted that it is considering the technology. Moreover, fingerprint identity sensor built into the “home” button of Apple iPhone 5s was designed with mobile payments in mind.
“The mobile payments area in general is one that we have been intrigued with, and one that was one of the thoughts behind touch ID,” said Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, during this week’s conference call with investors and analysts. “But we aree not limiting ourselves just to that. So I do not have anything specific to announce today, but you can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it is a big opportunity on the platform.”
At present, Apple iPhone 5s features fingerprint reader, which should make it easy to confirm purchases. But it does not support a near-field communication technology that is required to transfer data from the smartphone to a merchant’s computer. As a result, unless Apple comes up with something proprietary (e.g. Air Drop), the iPhone 5s will not support mobile payments as we know them.
KitGuru Says: Apple already knows our music, movie and book preferences, it knows where we are and can theoretically analyse even how we move thanks to its M7 co-processor. Quite naturally, it has access to our credit card’s information. With mobile payments, it will get access to even more data…