updated 11:33 am EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
No service in near future, sources hint
During the past two months, Apple executives have been talking with retail chain directors about the company's rumored mobile payment service, a source claims. While the person has refused to publicly identify himself or the specific chains involved, the retailers are said to include vendors of luxury goods like high-end clothing. The service in question is expected to be integrated into iOS devices and let people pay with an iTunes account instead of cash, checks, or credit.
The talks are said to be addressing topics like building a single service that can integrated into a variety of retail stores, since every business has its own transaction needs. Indeed, third-party mobile payment services like Square and PayPal have had to regularly update their apps and infrastructure to accommodate different transaction schemes.
Apple is believed to be in the middle of a research and development phase, exploring what retailers need and want. The company is also reportedly asking retailers to survey customers about whether they'd like to pay for goods with phones or other devices.
Several sources suggest that because Apple is in an exploratory mode, it doesn't seem as if the payment service will launch in the near future. Apple is however believed to be developing the technology internally, with the help of new and existing executives.
Rather than relying on NFC, like Isis or Google Wallet, Apple's system could be based on iBeacons. These might have the advantage of supporting more iOS devices -- since the iBeacon platform is based on Bluetooth Low Energy -- and not requiring people to "bump" their device to authorize payment.