NFC was a miss in the new iPhones, but Apple has bigger plans for low power radio wave based mobile payment technology. But while NFC is clearly not present, there's iBeacon.
It was a tiny detail on a slide Apple showed about iOS 7 during its WWDC presentation earlier this year. GigaOm points out that more details about the service have emerged thanks to Estimote, The company is planning to integrate with the iBeacon system.
It's based on Bluetooth Low Energy technology that works over shorter ranges than the typical 20 plus yards "normal" Bluetooth is capable of. This means it will require lower energy consumption on devices and can run for significant periods. And because Bluetooth is a wireless data channel, it can handle more bandwidth than a typical NFC interaction.
Using BLE to a payment system opens up the potential for more sophisticated interactions between payee and a merchant's computer systems. If you enter into a store with a BLE-powered iBeacon device, it would know that your phone is within a very short range of the beacon.
From here, you could get an alert telling you of the special offers of the day, or even share a dedicated coupon tailored to your needs. It could also direct you to the right part of a store to find a particular product. It's essentially an indoor GPS.
For payment, the user's phone is physically present in a retail location and is properly ID'd, and shares coded payment data in the right way; and
that the user of the phone, and thus the owner of the payment card, is
positively identified as being with their device. It sounds better than NFC.
The only problem to this? The service relies on an iPhone user sharing their data over the radio. If there's no handshake with a store's beacons, the service won't be able to offer any value to the user. Some may even be concerned that their data could be "intercepted" or "stolen" or hacked for whatever reasons, which is being addressed with some kind of encryption to keep these kind of people at bay.
Still, it boils down to the user's point of view and mindset. If iBeacon is played properly, it could eventually be the tipping point mobile payments need,
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