iPhone 5 NFC Likely After Apple Granted iWallet Patent

March 7, 2012

It wasn’t too long ago that iPhone5latest.com was among the first to report about Apple’s planned iPhone 5 NFC integration. At the time, we cited an interview with a higher-up in the Mastercard company who, while not naming Apple as a partner, certainly seemed to indicate that they were. Now it appears that the NFC payment iPhone 5 integration rumors have been given even more weight, as we’ve learned that Apple has officially been granted an iWallet patent for NFC payments. Perhaps even more importantly, the diagrams submitted from Apple to the US Patent & Trademark Office appear to show an iPhone (perhaps even the iPhone 5).

Apple’s iWallet Patent Reveals Planned iPhone 5 NFC

Near Field Communications (NFC) has been given a lot of discussion over the past couple years as devices have flocked to adapt the impressive technology. It only makes sense that, given Apple’s competitive nature, they want to take the NFC smartphone market by storm, and that’s just what they’re doing with the attractively named iWallet project.

As a part of the patent project, Apple had to give a lot of documentation to the US Patent & Trademark Office. This documentation also included some highly detailed diagrams to explain what iWallet is, as well as what it does. One image leaked by PatentlyApple.com depicts iTunes and a probably iPhone 5–both of which seem to use the NFC technology.

iPhone 5


What’s more, the image of the iPhone 5 also shows the placement of the NFC sensor, which looks to be on the front of the iPhone 5, to the left of the ear piece. This is an interesting placement as some may prefer that the sensor be located elsewhere on the iPhone 5, such as on the side or on the bottom.


What iWallet Does

There’s a lot of legalese in Apple’s patent documents, so let’s simplify things. Essentially, according to Apple, iWallet will be capable of handling financial transactions. These transactions will occur between accounts (such as credit card or bank accounts) and can be configured by the user and financial institution. User preferences can be stored and updated. The whole idea of iWallet is to allow individuals to purchase things using only their iPhone 5 or other Apple device. In other words, it’s not necessary to carry a credit card with you a store that supports NFC.

For those worried about security, NFC transactions on the iPhone 5 can be limited so as to avoid problems. iPhone 5 users are able to automatically decline transactions or have transactions run by them before they are approved. For instance, iPhone 5 NFC transactions can be limited to a set dollar amount and if the transaction exceeds this amount, it will automatically be declined.

Why An NFC iPhone 5 is Useful

A scenario: you go to the store to purchase something, only to discover you have your iPhone, but no wallet or money on hand. If this happens to you now, you’re out of luck until you head back home and retrieve the wallet. However, if this happens to you when you have your iPhone 5, you’ll be able to whip out your iPhone 5 and use iWallet to pay for your purchase.

Also, if you happen to have a child who uses an iPhone 5 and who you give money to, you can theoretically give them their money through the iPhone 5 with iWallet. You’ll be able to define a specific amount of money that your child is allowed to spend with your bank or credit card account tied to iWallet, and once they reach this amount, they won’t be able to spend anymore. In this aspect, iWallet could be an even better financial tool than the debit or credit card.

And of course there are the obvious other NFC iPhone 5 uses, such as small business owners who can easily collect payment from customers through only their iPhone 5. The possibilities are endless.

What Do You Think?

Do you like the idea of being able to use your iPhone 5 to purchase items? Leave us a comment below and let your opinion be heard.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Robin Hughes March 8, 2012 at 9:24 am

I like this idea of iwallet, but I would also like to be able to pay bills with it.


JoeShmoe99 March 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Why would you need to pay bills through iWallet? Most banks have an app. I don't want literally every single one of my financial transactions concentrated thruogh iWallet. But that's just me.


JoeShmoe99 March 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm

The entire NFC-in-phone concept seems pretty useless to me. Generally, wherever we go, we carry a cell phone and our wallet. It sure seems like a large waste of money to develop a technology that is only useful where, as in the article, we've forgotten our wallet. Sure, it happens, but not that often. And definitely not often enough for Apple to go through the trouble of obtaining a patent and for every iPhone user to input their financial information into the iPhone and give it to Apple. I can already foresee major privacy violations where Apple will gather information gleaned from iWallet to make offers to iPhone users. Also, inevitably, the financial information will end up stolen. Likewise, every time an iPhone is lost or stolen, the owner will also have to shut off access to the iPhone just like one has to do with credit cards when wallets are lost or stolen.


JoeShmoe99 March 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm

The allowance given to the child scenario is somewhat more intriguing but, again, is it really necessary? If Mom and Dad put $20 weekly into Junior's iWallet account, or limit iWallet to withdrawing $20/week from Mom and Dad's bank account, they can just as easily monitor Junior's usage and scold him for exceeding the $20/week. Also, what if Junior wants to buy something that will cost $20.01? What if Junior has an emergency and needs cash right away? Chances are, Junior will still carry around either cash from Mom and Dad or an "emergency" credit card. Both options obviate the need for iWallet.

Apple has a history of designing products for people who don't realize they need them (hello, iPad), but I think NFC/iWallet will be an overall loser. Now, when we can embed a microchip into our hands and pay by waiving our hand over a scanner, I'll be more interested.


RDC March 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Hey JoeShmoe99, I am sure glad you weren't around when cars were invented. "Why can't I just use my horse? And what am I supposed to do to make this car work? Fill it with gasoline? And what I assume that next you are going to tell me that there will be buildings all over the place that will just pump this gasoline into my car, and this gasoline magically will come out of the ground? I think I will just stick to my horse. I can get hay and grains anywhere. I don't really see this car thing taking off. It will be a big flop."


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