Apple may implement near field communication technology in the next iPad and iPhone, allowing users to make purchases directly from these devices.
According to Bloomberg, Richard Doherty, director of consultancy firm Envisioneering Group, said NFC technology will be introduced in the upcoming updates of both the iPhone and the iPad this year, citing engineers working on the new hardware.
Doherty also said Apple will start a mobile payment service from mid-2011 and would redesign iTunes to allow it to hold loyalty credits and points. Users can also use credit information or Apple gift cards to make real-life purchases.
Apple has reportedly already developed a prototype of the payment terminal and may heavily subsidise it to encourage fast take-up of the technology.
The technology allows users to send and receive information at a distance of 10 centimetres (4 inches), which can be used to make purchases of goods directly from a mobile phone, using the handset as a debit or credit card.
Google recently made its upgrade of Android compatible with the technology, so it would make sense that Apple would want to access this market, too.
The iPhone 5 has been previously rumoured to have NFC technology. If it happens, it could trigger a huge growth in mobile payments, considering Apple’s power in making a product become a must-have for consumers.
The technology is currently in use in two towns in Ireland, Dundalk and Tuam. It’s also used across 32 Insomnia cafes across Ireland and in various Londis, Munchies and Eddie Rocket outlets.