Apple has hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as its new product manager for mobile commerce, suggesting that the next gen iPhone may feature mobile wallet capabilities, according to Computerworld.
Vigier has been active in the NFC field since 2004, previously serving as product manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at mFoundry, where he developed both PayPal Mobile and Starbucks’ bar code-based mobile payments service.
Apple has spent the last couple years steadily filing patents for NFC-based applications, already dubbed iPay, iBuy, iCoupons and Products+, and the hiring of Vigier suggests that Apple is ready to make swift use of them.
Additionally, Apple has filed patents for an NFC-enabled iPod, games controller, TV and iPhone, and has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring NFC/contactless technology provider VIVOtech, according to Computerworld.
Apple is also looking to beef up security for its next-gen devices, possibly storing user signature inputs, including fingerprint recognition, which Computerworld argues will be essential to the success of Apple’s impending NFC launch.
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