Apple is seriously talking to payments-industry companies about debuting a mobile wallet, according to a report from The Information. Executives are at least considering a fall release date, and are discussing hardware security features.
The Information spoke to sources that cite Visa as a potential partner.
This isn't a new rumor, but the specificity of The Information's report makes it sound like Apple's plans are anything but vague:
Apple has told some partners its system would involve a so-called secured element in the phones—a piece of hardware where sensitive information such as a phone owner's financial credentials can be stored. The company also aims to run the system without giving up any control to wireless carriers.
Apple is in a good position to be a formidable competitor to Google Wallet and other mobile payment options, and if it can beat potential foes like Amazon to launching a full-fledged mobile payment service, the iWallet or whatever they decide to call it could quickly establish itself as a major payment service. So many people have already given Apple their credit card information for the App Store and iTunes.
MacRumors hypothesized that the hardware security feature Apple is considering may be a "Secure Enclave" coprocessor; if Apple successfully designs a security feature like this, a pairing of this with TouchID could be a major selling point for your next iPhone. [The Information via MacRumors]