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“iWallet” and NFC payments for future iPhones, says Morgan Stanley

Apple is very likely to integrate NFC technology in future generations of iPhone devices, to allow iPhone users to make purchases using “iWallet”.

This is according to predictions from a note to investors by Analyst Craig Hettenbach from the Morgan Stanley financial management firm, which maintains that Apple will make NFC a key feature in mobile payments technology for iOS. Hettenbach added that NFC technology is at an “inflection point”, due to an influx of patent filings and partnerships making the technology extremely desirable to mobile manufacturers.

NFC has been a long-tested feature on many competing devices, especially on Android.

Mobile payment case manufacturer VeriFone has been making available credit card swipers for iPhones that include tap-to-pay NFC technology in all new Apple Stores retail points, as further indication of a potential investment being made in the direction of NFC-ready iPhone devices.

China’s interbank network UnionPay has also reached an agreement with Apple that would further solidify Hettenbach’s theory.

If indeed the speculations are true, Apple will have to choose between two methods of NFC integration, cloud-based or embedded.

In the former, the NFC chip would rely on host card implementation, which has presented problems for Android users in the past, due to each individual carrier’s policies, which have resulted in the carrier’s ability to block NFC-based financial transactions.

The latter approach requires transactions details to be stored on a built-in chip within the phone, communicating with another phone or point of sale via regular radio frequency.

Embedded technology is also something that’s not always well accepted by all carriers, as any technology that is not easily controlled over the air. Yet, Apple’s sales numbers are solid, which might turn into the one valid point Apple needs to make with phone carriers to allow the technology to fly.

Apple has made claims as far back as 2011 in regard to the integration of NFC mobile payments, but such functionality has never been implemented. However, according to the new data, as well as new key hires that include experts in the field of NFC and radio waves technology, there is a chance future iPhone users will use “iWallet” technology.

On a separate note, there is also a strong chance that “iWallet” will disappear from the Apple buzz-word vocabulary, and will have very little to do with the software definition of Apple’s future payment gateway, due to an existing copyright on the word “iWallet” owned by San Diego-based iWallet Corporation, maker of the omonimous electronically lockable wallet.

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