Over the weekend it was reported that Apple hired Benjamin Vigier, an expert in near field communication (NFC), a short range wireless protocol most synonymous with contactless payments. This key Apple hire is perhaps the strongest public signal yet of Appleâ€™s intent to use NFC to build on its micropayments franchise and disrupt traditional point of sale using a mobile commerce model.
There is no doubt that Apple wants to enable native support for mobile payments and authenticationâ€”its myriad of patents and installed base of 100M active iTunes accounts with credit cards on file make this a no-brainer.
But Iâ€™ve learned of an even more revealing sign that Apple will integrate the technologyâ€”sources tell me that Apple has built NFC-enabled iPhone prototypes using hardware from NXP Semiconductor, and is testing mobile payments today (NXP is the market leader in NFC and just hired Goldman Sachs to run its IPO).
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