With the news that the people of New York can now pay for their jaunts on public transport with their iPhone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that near-field technology has already arrived and nobody told you.
Sadly, not yet. But this method of payment, while still in trial form at the moment, is exactly how Apple sees the iPhone being positioned as an ‘electronic wallet’ in the future. You can take a look at the video over at Mashable to get an illustration of the but, briefly, The payWave system that is demonstrated in the video involves launching a Visa iPhone app and waving your iPhone at a sensor positioned at a gate near the entrance to a train or bus.
Apple very recently hired a near-field technology specialist and it is clear that they are looking to implement this feature in the next iteration of the iPhone.
If the video illustrates one key thing, it is that the process will have to be designed very carefully with security in mind, including redundant processes that can remotely disable the payment features, should the phone be lost or stolen. There is also the potential use of a chip-and-pin system to accompany the swiping process, otherwise it would be equivalent to carrying around a credit card which you just wave in front of a sensor that doesn’t ask you for any other identity confirmation.
Maybe Apple will implement some sort of biometric recognition in the next iPhone version to accompany the near-field payment technology. Now that would be cool. Jobs has already purchased a company that deals in facial recognition software. Now, where did I put that fingerprint company…..it must be around here somewhere….