In what has been described by Business Insider as a newly public patent application originating from Cupertino, California-based Apple, comes some interesting details on just what the tech company’s plans regarding mobile wallets could involve in future iterations of their software and hardware platforms.
In short, the patent application describes a Passbook-like system for holding coupons, credit/debit cards, and more — all in digital form.
This encrypted system would effectively allow consumers to make payments via cloud and NFC (near field communication), assuming the merchant they’re giving their money to has compatible hardware.
This so-called “omni-wallet” would allow third-parties to send information to the device owner without risk of interception, and also allow coupon and store card issuers to keep track of transactions and credit redemption.
And even though we’ve known Apple has been inching their way into the mobile payment space, what may be of even more interest to you is the mention of “virtualized currencies” — perhaps hinting at bitcoin or other digital currencies in widespread use today.
Though professional patent analyst Reed Jessen says they possibilities could go beyond bitcoin.
“Traditional cryptocoins like Bitcoin don’t need the method described above to remain secure,” he told Business Insider, adding that, “one could imagine this method being used by Apple to send their own non-blockchain, non-decentralized digital currency, ‘AppleCoin’ to the omni-wallets of fanboys everywhere.”
Of course, a patent application doesn’t mean that features are guaranteed to be included some time in the future (nor do they outline concrete intentions), but they certainly an indicator of what Apple’s future plans might include.