Most of the mobile payment services are powered by NFC (Near Field Communication), this technology is commonly found in most mid-range and high-end smartphones. Apple has always kept the iPhone out of this loop. The company’s smartphone has never come with NFC built-in, which means that iPhone users can’t use these services. That might be about to change. An analyst predicts that in the upcoming iPhone Apple may finally opt for NFC just to facilitate mobile payments.
Though its not like Apple didn’t consider an alternative. Many of the company’s recent devices support iBeacons Bluetooth Low Energy based technology which could effectively replicate payment functions of NFC, but since the latter has been around for quite a long time, it has more recognition.
Earlier this year it was rumored that Apple wants to develop a mobile wallet for the iPhone. Existing iTunes accounts would be used, which are currently only good in Apple’s own content stores. Making them compatible with the retail store ecosystem would give Apple instant access to over 600 million users with credit cards on file, so even at launch it would probably be one of the biggest mobile payments system just due to the sheer number of people buying content via iTunes.
Apple has patents related to NFC and mobile payments, but so far it has not materialized. The analyst who made this prediction, Ming-Chi Kuo, has a long track record of being right, so fingers crossed!