The next versions of Apple’s iPhone and iPad could include technology let customers pay for physical goods using their handheld devices, rather than via bank cards or cash, according to reports.
Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, said the services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4 inches.
NFC is due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T and the iPad 2, Doherty said.
Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.
Apple’s service may be able to tap into user information already on file, including credit-card numbers, iTunes gift-card balance and bank data.
That could make it an alternative to programs offered by such companies as Visa, MasterCard and EBay Inc’s PayPal.
Commenting on the report, Fred Huet, Managing Partner Greenwich Consulting UK, said: “NFC is an ecosystem and therefore although it’s great news that Apple gets into the fray this will require more players aligning and investing in this (retail chains for example).
“At the moment there is a clear “land grab” going on in that space between operators, handset manufacturers, banks and card operators such as VISA. Replacing cards with phones in the next five years as Telefonica mentioned is probably more aspiration than a definitive target”.