Apple Close to Adding Digital Wallet to iPhone?

Apple’s never been afraid to push the envelope and impose its will and consumer-friendly technologies to expand or — in some cases — create new markets and revenue streams.

As Enterprise Mobile Today reports, the recent hire of near field communications expert Benjamin Vigier and reports of some early mobile payment technology testing are clear indicators that Apple is serious about bringing some sort of digital wallet functionality to the iPhone.

NFC technology makes it possible for consumers to send data wirelessly over short distances, roughly four or five inches away, to payment terminals and other wireless devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablet PCs.

While major wireless service providers, banks and even some retailers have dabbled a bit with NFC technology — including some on Google’s Android mobile operating system — analysts say the technology is still very new, largely untested and likely prone to security issues if and when it becomes a mainstream transaction option.

Apple appears to be on the verge of adding a digital wallet feature to the iPhone after the company announced the hire of Benjamin Vigier, a well-known developer of near field communication (NFC) devices and systems.

Vigier, who most recently served as product manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at U.S. mobile payments specialist mFoundry joined Apple last week. At mFoundry, he conceived and managed both the PayPal Mobile service and Starbucks’ barcode-based mobile payments service and developed the mobile wallet apps for a pair of top mobile network operators and major U.S. bank.

The hire combined with a report that cited unnamed sources claiming Apple is already testing NFC-enabled iPhone prototypes using chips from NXP Semiconductor suggest the company is once again ready to be a disruptive and, perhaps, leading force in the emerging mobile payments market.

Read the full story at Enterprise Mobile Today:

Apple Prepping iPhone as a Digital Wallet?

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