You can use iTunes to pay for music, apps, movies, TV shows, and books. But how about groceries? Or dinner at a restaurant? One prominent analyst says Apple is not only adding NFC chips to the iPhone 5 and iPad 2, consumers will be able to use these devices to tap to pay for goods and services via a new service that integrates with iTunes.
Hot on the heels of Google rolling out its first NFC-enabled phone, the Samsung Nexus S, Apple reportedly has a much more cohesive vision already in the works. Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, tells Bloomberg that Apple’s mobile payment service could launch as soon as mid year. Doherty also says that Apple has developed a payment terminal that it will either give away to small businesses or heavily subsidize.
The report adds that the NFC-enabled iPhone and iPad could also be used to deliver more targeted–and therefore more lucrative–ads, and that Apple would offer some sort of loyalty program. Everyone from PayPal and Intuit to MasterCard and Nokia have been trying to take mobile payments mainstream for years, but it looks like Apple might be the company to make it happen.