No NFC for iPhone 5 but it still might solve a problem. Plus a look at the mobile payment quagmire.
Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.
So that’s that: No NFC for the iPhone 5
Leading up to yesterday’s Apple event, there was much rumor mongering over whether or not the iPhone 5 would include NFC technology. The rumors have now been resolved: Apple did not include NFC in the iPhone 5. All Things Digital’s Ina Fried talked with Apple’s Phil Schiller about the lacking technology:
“Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller said that Passbook alone does what most customers want and works without existing merchant payment systems. It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem, Schiller said. ‘Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today’.”
Schiller’s sentiments echoed those made by Square COO Keith Rabois last year, that NFC is “a technology in search of a value proposition.” Cotton Delo at AdAge reported on Apple’s decision to forego NFC and side step the mobile wallet arena and noted that it’s not likely to have any ill effects on the mobile shopping ecosystem, as there is plenty of competition in the space to advance mobile wallet technology.
All the same, advancement in technology doesn’t necessarily translate into ubiquitous adoption, and the decision not to include the technology could have ramifications beyond mobile payments. Ryan Kim at GigaOm argues that Apple’s “snub” was a big detriment for NFC, that including it on “the most popular phone” would have educated consumers and brought a level of validation the technology hasn’t yet experienced. Kim also highlights the bigger issue:
“NFC is much more than just payments and can facilitate personal media and information sharing, building access, marketing and easy Bluetooth pairing. Google, BlackBerry, Nokia and Samsung have all shown different ways in which NFC can be used. But without many common applications that can work between those devices, there’s fewer chances for people to really adopt the technology. With a new iPhone likely to be a best seller, there would have been a lot of ways for people to get acquainted with NFC-actions. Now, the promise of NFC will still struggle to be fulfilled for at least another year.”
Google gears up to compete with Apple, a look at the effect of technology on currency, and a wallet competition roundup.
Here are a few stories from the commerce space that caught my attention this week.
Google prepares its Wallet to compete with iOS 6
Robin Dua, Google’s head of product management for Google Wallet, participated in a video interview (embedded below) this week to talk about Wallet features and plans. Technology reporter Cromwell Schubarth notes in a post at Silicon Valley Biz Blog that the future plans for Google Wallet look a lot like Apple’s newly announced Passbook that’s due to release in iOS 6 this fall. Schubarth quotes Dua:
“‘One of the types of things we’re trying to do is make it easy for airlines, transit providers, and other types of issuers of credentials to make it super simple for them to get their credentials stored in the wallet,’ Dua said. ‘That’s the goal. We want you to be able to leave your leather wallet at home and carry your phone and transact with that as your primary transaction device.”
PayPal snags two big partners, NFC is in the "Trough of Disillusionment," and a look at mobile commerce trends.
Here are a few stories that caught my eye this week in the commerce space.
The race is on
Earlier this month, mobile payment company Square teamed up with Starbucks to bring mobile payment to the coffee mogul’s 7,000 locations and millions of customers. This week, PayPal stepped up its game with two announcements. First, according to a report at Reuters, the company confirmed rumors that it’s running a mobile payment test with fast food giant McDonald’s at 30 of its locations in France.
Alistair Barr describes the program in the Reuters report, explaining that customers can order lunch on their smartphones or online, pay with PayPal, and pick up their orders in a separate line. McDonald’s has more than 30,000 locations worldwide — landing this partnership not only could catapult PayPal ahead of Square in the mobile payment race, but it will bring mobile payments to the everyday lives of the masses, further mainstreaming the idea of mobile wallets and mobile payment.
Upping the ante further, PayPal also announced a partnership with Discover that, according to Ryan Kim’s report at GigaOm, will bring PayPal payments to some seven million U.S. merchants. Through the deal, Discover will integrate PayPal’s payment system into its point-of-sale software, which alleviates involvement and investment from merchants. During its launch, planned for April 2013, the system will be a bit clunky, but it’s expected to smooth out quickly thereafter — Kim reports:
“At launch next year, PayPal users will be able to pay with a PayPal Access Card, which connects to a PayPal account and can be funded from a bank account or credit card. Users will be able to use the card in conjunction with a PayPal mobile wallet app, which will deliver e-receipts, offers and other services. But a few months later, PayPal users will be able to pay directly through point-of-sale terminals by entering in a PIN or phone number or by authorizing a payment through their mobile app after sharing their location with the merchant. That will eliminate the need for any cards or traditional wallets and will enable consumers to get the benefits of a digital wallet to receive offers, track spending and tap into loyalty programs.”
PayPal’s VP of retail services Don Kingsborough told Kim this deal with Discover will be “key in achieving ubiquity” to help facilitate consumer adoption.
Apple to buy AuthenTec, PayPal teams up with a newspaper, and Google puts its Wallet in the cloud.
Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.
Apple looking to secure NFC?
Further fueling the rumors the next gen iPhone will include NFC (there hardly seems to be much doubt at this point), Apple announced this week that it will shell out more than $350 million to buy AuthenTec, a technology company that, as Poornima Gupta and Sinead Carew at Reuters describe, “provides mobile security software licenses to companies like Samsung, and fingerprint sensor technology to computer makers such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc.”
As with most things Apple, much speculation ensued as to what this pending purchase will mean for the next iPhone. As noted in the post at Reuters, AuthenTec’s fingerprint sensors are used in mobile phones in Japan to authenticate mobile payments. Erica Ogg at GigaOm runs through the evidence pointing to a pending “iWallet,” including: the launch of Passbook; the 400 million credit cards stored in iTunes; and the fact that “[o]ne of [AuthenTec’s] key products is an NFC chip with on-chip encryption, which is designed specifically for mobile payments.” Ogg notes that it’s possible Apple purchased the company so its competitors couldn’t, but points out that “AuthenTec is considered a leader in the secure mobile payments field.”
After the recent NFC hacking demonstration at Black Hat, Apple’s intended acquisition of AuthenTec has also fueled speculation that Apple is looking to provide a level of NFC security that nobody else has. Ian Paul at PCWorld points out that “AuthenTec’s expertise could help Apple bolster the security of any NFC feature it implements. This would also make the iPhone and iPad more appealing to security-conscious IT managers at large corporations.”
Mobile payment conjecture aside, Maribel Lopez at Forbes argues that, sure, Apple could use this company’s technology to help advance the “stalled” mobile payment market in the U.S., but the potential of the technology goes far beyond a mobile wallet. Lopez points out it can be used to manage and verify digital identities, a function that, she argues, will become an inherent part of daily life as services become “people-centric, but device and network agnostic”:
“The future is contextual identity that will be based on multiple factors, including location, device, username/password and possibly biometric authentication. … Fingerprinting recognition in Apple devices could unlock a new age of usability where each user’s preferences and customization could be retrieved by simply pressing a finger on a screen. This could also be combined with the next generation of Siri to enable seamless navigation with voice. The post-PC world needs a new set of navigation and identity tools. It’s clear that Apple is trying to build this via home grown products and strategic acquisitions.”
Lopez’s piece is this week’s recommended read — you can read it in its entirety here.
Square's frictionless payment doesn't worry PayPal, NFC gets hacked, and mobile payments head to the Olympics.
A look at Square’s new payment app and why PayPal isn’t concerned, an NFC security hack is demoed at Black Hat, and Visa takes mobile payments to the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)
A brand-agnostic mobile wallet gets $12 million, an argument that mobile will revolutionize retail, and Apple gets an iTravel patent.
White label mobile wallet platform Paydiant gets Series B funding, PayAnywhere’s CEO argues mobile is the biggest thing to hit retail since Visa, and Apple’s (presumed) inclusion of NFC may not (initially) be used for a mobile wallet. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O’Reilly and PayPal.)
Connecting dots between the Sears supply chain and modern ecommerce. Plus: A look at mobile partnerships and NFC keychains.
An analyst says online commerce is a descendant (and a return) of the circa-1900s catalog model, Deutsche Telekom partners with MasterCard for its mobile wallet platform, and NFC keychains may spark technology solutions. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
The NFC boom is nigh, thieves get a new tool to steal NFC data, and Girl Scouts get mobile.
The NFC ecosystem looks to be shaping up, a security researcher creates an app to steal NFC data from phones, and the mobile commerce revolution is nearing its tipping point. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
Why Apple and others could choose Bluetooth over NFC, NFC is too slow for the Tube, and PayPal expands its point of sale.
An analyst says Bluetooth may be a better option than NFC for Apple, NFC isn't quite working for the London Tube, and PayPal gets more partners and a new payment app. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
Isis Mobile Wallet is coming this summer, Canada gets its first mobile wallet, and NFC benefits may trump privacy concerns.
Isis announces Mobile Wallet partners and a rollout plan, Rogers Communication and CIBC partner to bring a mobile wallet to Canada, and a look at the theoretical benefits of NFC. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)