From Mike Issac at Wired, PayPal and Google have been making waves this year with the combination of NFC technology and innovations in the payments space. And to Mike’s point, “Silicon Valley wants you to do away with your old, beat-up leather wallet”. However, all of this tech is still reliant on your credit card as an intermediary to payment. This is where Apple comes in.
I believe Apple will announce a new product soon, the “iPod pro”. Steve Jobs will surprise us by one-uping the iPod, PayPal, Google, and the carriers simultaneously. Imagine: a digital wallet that allows you to withdraw funds from your online account into a secure offline repository on your iPod pro, just like withdrawing cash from an ATM to place in your wallet. Then, people can use that “digitized” cash to pay for both real-life goods or iTunes purchases, without a credit card as the intermediary. It might be facilitated by low-power-draw NFC technology so that the only thing you’ll ever carry is your ID and your iPod pro, and it would alleviate (at least my) concerns about a wallet that runs out of juice!
Here’s why I’d predict this sort of product from Apple: the current field is ripe for two things, simplification and opportunity. PayPal touts that their NFC solution only needs a few taps of the phone; Apple will figure out a shorter series of steps. The world’s largest App Store still needs a credit card; Apple will make purchasing digital goods even more seamless and accessible than before. And with its current hardware profile that includes a camera, I’m sure an app will appear faster than George Costanza can say “Important things go in a case”, which would likely scan old-fashioned paper receipts on the spot for tagging and uploading into iCloud. Apple will ask you to say goodbye to back pain, cash, credit cards, and receipts. And consumers will love it.