Apple 10 years from now will be as much a financial services company as it is a computer company. The world’s biggest tech firm already has more than a half million credit card numbers, and has been quietly waiting to see how NFC-based smart wallets pan-out for rival Android and the Samsung smartphones that use it.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Eddy Cue, Apple’s iTunes and App Store chief and a key lieutenant of Chief Executive Tim Cook, has met with industry executives to discuss Apple’s interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its devices, according to people familiar with the situation.
Americans alone are expected to spend $90,000,000,000,000 using mobile payments in 2017. That’s about 8 times more than today, and Apple is already a big part of that through it’s iTunes store. You’re buying movies, books, music — and if you’ve got Apple’s Apple Store app, you can walk right out of the store with a product and never speak to a blue shirt at all.
Apple also has patents on the terminal widget retailers would connect to their cash registers to make its payment system possible. It’s been on the books for a few years, now. But we didn’t see the NFC (Near Field Communications) chip installed in the iPhone 5S, leading to predictions the iWallet isn’t ready for prime time. NFC isn’t necessary for iWallet, however. It could easily be done over encrypted Bluetooth, much like how Apple’s iOS 7 supports iOS device-to-device file sharing.