The rumours that Apple is to build-in mobile payments into the iPhone 5 are old, but now the rumour is that payments will also be built into the iPad 2 and enable iTunes for m-payments.
According to the report in Bloomberg Apple will embed a NFC-based mobile payment services into the next iteration of its iPhone and iPad devices, enabling consumers to make purchases by swiping their smartphone or tablet in front of a point-of-sale digital reader unit.
For some time the industry has expected Apple to put a Near Field Communications (NFC) device into the next iPhone to enable mobile payments, as we’ve said before it’s not rocket science, and it follows a trend. Nokia have built in NFC into it’s devices and manufacturers in the Far East have been doing it for years. However the report that Apple are about to add NFC to the iPad adds a new twist and begs the question why put NFC in a device so big.
The source of this rumour is Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, who claims that both the iPad and iPhone will have NFC added this year and that “Apple could be the game-changer,” for mobile payments.
Doherty also believes that Apple is considering starting a mobile payment service as early as mid-2011, which would fit in with the launch of the iPhone 5 and wouldn’t necessarily rule out NFC in the iPad 2. Apple don’t need to enable the NFC system, and there’s no harm in it being included in the iPad but remaining dormant until the iPhone catches up, and it’s something Nokia have done as well
Doherty also said Apple would revamp iTunes so it would hold not only users’ credit-card account information but also loyalty credits and points. So when customers walk into a store or restaurant and make payments straight from an iPad or iPhone, they could also receive loyalty rewards and credits for purchases.
We can see the point of NFC in the iPhone but putting it into a device as big as the iPad doesn’t seem to make sense. We know that there are people who have an iPad and don’t have an iPhone, but is the market big enough to justify the inclusion of an NFC chip? This only makes real sense if the iPad is more phone-like. Does this indicate that we might get a smaller screen sized iPad? or that the iPad 2 is going to have more phone functionality?
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