Home Your New iWallet: Apple Reportedly to Add NFC to the Next iPhone and iPad

Your New iWallet: Apple Reportedly to Add NFC to the Next iPhone and iPad

The next generation iPhone and iPad will contain Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology enabling the devices to become your wallet, according to a report today in Bloomberg.

NFC is a short-range, high-frequency wireless technology which lets devices – primarily mobile phones – communicate with other NFC devices. This can be utilized in a number of applications including mobile ticketing, mobile money, and smart billboards.

The Bloomberg story cites Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisionering Group, who says that Apple has been working to embed the technology in the “next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc and the iPad 2,” both of which are expected to be launched this year.

It’s not an unexpected move. As we have reported previously, Apple has made some strategic hires of NFC experts, and the Android already offers this functionality.

NFC Plus iTunes

What makes the Bloomberg news interesting, if true – other than the fact that the report only mentions this NFC technology in the AT&T iPhone, not a Verizon iPhone – is the way in which NFC, matched with the iTunes checkout system, could truly become a de facto payment method for many of us. Users are already incredibly familiar and comfortable with purchasing things via iTunes, and as we look to alternatives to cash, checks, and even credits cards – particularly when it comes to making payments on the go – it makes sense that Apple provides that service.

It makes sense for users and for Apple. As the Bloomberg story notes, it could help Apple cut costs associated with credit card processing fees. But it could also greatly expand the reach of the iTunes service. And according to Doherty, this is in the works for mid-2011, with plans to “revamp iTunes, a service that lets consumers buy digital movies and music, so it would hold not only users’ credit-card account information but also loyalty credits and points.”

So get ready to pay with your phone. Get ready to receive targeted ads and coupons with your phone. The industry has been saying that for a while. But while NFC has been touted as the future of mobile money and mobile shopping, one of the major pieces missing from implementation is the infrastructure necessary to facilitate it. And it sounds like Apple, if the Bloomberg report is true, may be working on just that very thing.

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