iPhone 5 and iPad 2 to be your digital wallet

Jan 25, 2011 - 9 Comments

iphone digital wallet patent diagram

If you thought last weeks news that you can now buy Starbucks coffee with an iPhone was cool, this is even cooler. According to Bloomberg, iPhone 5 and iPad 2 will both feature “Near-Field Communications” technology that allows the devices to become a digital wallet. Thanks to the built-in NFC chip, your iPhone will be able to access credit cards, bank accounts, and gift card balances already on file with Apple, allowing you to make any purchase directly from the phone.

In terms of the timeline, Bloomberg says the technology is “due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2” and that “Both products are likely to be introduced this year… citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.”

Most rumors put the iPad 2 release in April and iPhone 5 in June, keeping in line with Apple’s past release schedules, but what about in-store infrastructure? According to the report, Apple has already created prototype NFC payment terminals that they may subsidize to encourage rapid nationwide adoption of the technology.

I’m wondering if the NFC data will be accessible for third party app developers, if so, this could completely change the face of mobile banking, transactions, gift cards, and so much more. Owe your friend $5? Imagine being able to send it directly to his bank account with a few taps on your phone. Consider this all a rumor for now, but hopefully Bloomberg is right about this one.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, News


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  1. […] Possibility of included NFC chip, which would turn iPad 2 and iPhone 5 into a digital wallet […]

  2. BlackAeronaut says:

    Naysayers, don’t be silly.

    I’ve been living in Japan for a few years and I’ve been greatly enjoying the perks of owning a smart-phone in this country. You see, they’ve had electronic wallet systems here for quite a while. Initially it was just in specially made cards the same size of a credit card.

    Soon enough, credit card companies and banks began to offer cards equipped with this technology.

    And finally came the cell phone companies, for whom it was a simple thing to add one more bit of technology to their already remarkable phones.

    As typical night with my girlfriend here in Japan? Swipe my phone at the turnstile at the train station, swipe my phone at the vending machine for a drink, get off at Yokohama and swipe my phone again at the exit, meet up with my girl and head over to Starbucks where I swipe my phone again for payment. And all without having to dig for change.

    I’m coming back home soon on an honorable discharge and I hope that iPhone 5 will have digital wallet support. It’s a convenience that I’d like to keep.

  3. Tac0 says:

    Will not buy. Happily take either one or both if given to me however.

  4. Wolter says:

    Welcome to 2002.

  5. Trench says:


  6. EVula says:

    This would make the already amazingly convenient checkout experience at the Apple Stores all the faster. Grab a product, swipe your phone at a device, and walk out.

  7. Mike says:

    Love the idea, this is the future. Make it happen Apple!

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