Apple Payments Rumor Roundup

Today's the day Apple unveils the successor to the iPhone 5. Here's a look at the leaks, patent applications and other rumors that shed light on the company's mobile payment plans.

Apple has already confirmed plans for an iCloud keychain, which would store consumers' passwords and credit card info for mobile and online shopping.

Apple's software-based Passbook wallet, which collects third-party payments apps, is likely to get at least a cosmetic update. Apple's redesigned iOS operating system will move away from skeuomorphic design (wherein software mimics the appearance of physical-world items), likely shedding the features that make Passbook resemble a physical wallet.

Apple is also planning a built-in fingerprint scanner, according to a "persistent rumor." If Apple pairs this technology with its iCloud keychain, it would be the latest of many companies to attempt to secure payments with fingerprint biometrics.

Apple could use the fingerprint reader alongside its "card swipe" patent, which describes a method for approving mobile payments by swiping a finger across the phone's screen to approve or decline a transaction.

Apple might also pair the fingerprint reader with a Near Field Communication chip for contactless payments, according to an Apple patent examined by the website 9to5Mac.

Apple has never put NFC into its iPhone, iPad or iPod devices. However, a month ago a newly revealed patent application indicated Apple's ongoing interest in using NFC technology at the point of sale.

Echoing Samsung's recent reveal of an NFC smartwatch accessory to its new Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, Apple might preview plans for its own iWatch a product made more likely by Apple's purchase of Passif Semiconductor Corp.

Whatever Apple reveals at its iPhone event, the company has many more ideas in the works, based on a treasure trove of payments patents and patent applications.





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