Apple iWallet patent (Transactions icon)

Apple thus far has filed for a number of patents related to mobile payments, all seemingly pointing to a unified mobile payments solution dubbed iWallet. The most recent filing details a new transaction patent which goes to great lengths highlighting methods for conducting and managing financial transactions on smartphones such as the iPhone, giving hope that Apple engineers could in fact be secretly developing an on-the-go financial transactions service aimed at owners of iOS devices.

Titled “A method for conducting a financial transaction,” it focuses on Apple’s previous iWallet patent claims, with one publication suggesting that Apple could now be one step closer to launching a mobile payments solution on iOS devices, uite possibly based on NFC technology, which stands for Near-Field Communications…

PatentlyApple points out that the iPhone maker at this stage has applied for too many iWallet-related patents for anyone to dismiss rumors of an Apple-branded mobile payments solution.

Such a service wouldn’t be without its pitfalls, the publication cautions:

If a significant financial transaction mistake were to ever surface due directly to Apple’s future iWallet, consumers could easily lose confidence in the iPhone in short order.

So there’s a lot of pressure on Apple to deliver a flawless experience like they have with so many facets and features found in today’s iDevices.

Be that as it may, “the iWallet is coming,” PatenlyApple opines, “we just have to have a little patience.”

Some of the stronger leads include Apple’s May 2012 acquisition of smart sensor maker AuthenTec for $356 million. It was speculated at the time Apple needed AuthenTec’s technology to bolster enterprise security on iOS devices.

However, the startup squashed those rumors by informing its existing clients to buy fingerprint sensors elsewhere shortly following the Apple deal. It then followed up by selling off its division which makes encryption-based security hardware and software.

Other tidbits suggest that upcoming iOS devices could actually gain NFC and fingerprint sensors from AuthenTec, possibly integrating a handy fingerprint sensor right under the Home button for strong personal security, a must if Apple is to throw its brand behind sensitive mobile financial transactions.

Listening to recent chatter from China, the upcoming iPhone 5S incorporates both NFC and fingerprint sensor. Theoretically speaking, these sensors could work in conjunction with a dedicated new app from Apple like the rumored iWallet software or even the existing Passbook solution.

Of course, Apple would need to shore up support for iWallet from industry players, including banks, credit card companies, merchants and all sorts of middlemen, all with various vested interests.

But should those rumors pan out, 2013 could be the year Apple mainstreams payments on the go. And with nearly half a billion iTunes accounts with credit cards enabled for 1-click purchasing, the Cupertino firm’s iWallet could easily become an overnight success.

The question is, would you trust iWallet with paying for your groceries?

  • its a big selling point for their new iphone!! and i would definitely buy it

  • Bparrott7

    Absolutely. I already use it in a distorted way for coffee with DD gift card. I say bring it on!

  • Kurt

    I prefer my credit card and all the points and benefits I get from swiping it

    • You would still get the points if your credit card was stored in your phone.

      • Kurt

        Good good

    • Chindavon

      Physical credit cards suck. This movement is going to happen and it’s going to be sweet.

      • Kurt

        My credit card has NFC. Just tap my wallet I pay for the subway, taxi, convenience store, etc. won’t I have to do something on the iPhone? Open An app or a type a password? Can it really be easier than tapping my wallet?

      • Chindavon

        To me, it’s about security. So if you get your CC stolen or lost, anyone can pick it up and tap to use it right? Then you have to call the CC company to cancel it. Plus you don’t have to fatten your wallet with it. If you carry all your cards on your phone, and use (supposed) iPhone finger-print sensor for ‘tap to pay’, this, to me, is a lot more convenient and secure.

      • Kurt

        If its typing a password I’m not for it. If its using your finger print then. Yes that will be awesome. But I just don’t believe an iPhone will have a fingerprint scanner. Unless it uses the front facing camera but that can be an a security problem too. Does android phones uses passwords?

  • PersianHawkes

    Now lets see if the carriers block it if its using nfc.

    • trumpet444

      I have no idea why they would care, unless they want to try and find a way to squeeze some pennies out of every transaction

      • PersianHawkes

        Well they sure did block google wallet

  • Jerry

    I am praying to tom cruise that we finally get the finger scanner. and this would be sweet too. other then that this 5S minor update is going to suck.

    • Praying to Tom Cruise? Everyone knows there is only OneTrueGod… Nicholas Cage.

      • Jerry


  • Again last one to the game… What happened to innovation?

    • Chindavon

      When it comes to security in regards to my debit/credit cards, late to the game is all right with me. Obviously Apple has been testing and perfecting it. They weren’t ready, but appear to be now. The world has been waiting for Apple to roll this out because they trust and know that it will work and create this movement.

    • trumpet444

      Downvote all you want, he’s right. Considering the image above, they may have had the idea quite some time ago, but bringing it to market is what counts

  • Abdoulaye Diagne

    did you guys saw the number 45? seems like a fingerprint sensor! and it would be the right place!

    • Ye it’s from an older device.
      Proof: See the connecting cable, it’s 30-pin

  • Winappleworld

    Well its Apple and I have no doubt on its quality. Apple is a 100% trustable brand. Mistakes happen only once in blue moon.

    • Yeah, like the reception with the iPhone 4…………

      • Kurt

        4 sensors
        4s batterygate
        5 scratchgate
        iPad 4 heat

        Hello to the down votes that will come haha

      • Muhammad

        A blue moon happens more than I thought it did

  • Jaye

    Did you all notice 38? The headphone jack is on the top. Is this from a older device standpoint?

  • trumpet444

    While I can’t wait for this to happen, Apple is again behind the times. Google has already (although nowhere near widely accepted) implemented NFC transactions (with Verizon blocking it for some reason). Apple will simply make it popular, all the while slyly convincing people they did it first. NFC, LTE, noise canceling mics, camera flash, the ability to change the freaking wallpaper, etc……. all late to the party. Even with all my griping, if the “5s” is just a camera and processor upgrade, I’m still gonna buy the dang thing.

    Apple will do a great job implementing this if true, and a fingerprint scanner (although it kinda sounds far fetched) would be game changing.

  • droid.

  • If the fingerprint sensor rumor is true.. then we’ll see many Android manufacturers switch to a single home button suddenly!

  • inf3rn0

    Holy crap, they’re using GridLock! 🙂