Wearables and e-payments: What Apple might get from purchase of Passif Semiconductor

“Apple has acquired small semiconductor company, Passif Semiconductor — reading that company’s published patents suggests Cupertino may be looking to use Passif’s technologies in future wearable and contactless payment solutions,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“It’s enough for me to place a bet that the future iWatch will not in fact be an independent, self-powered device capable of running a few apps and making phone calls on its own, but will be little more than a posh Pebble: the device will need to work with a smartphone, the processor on the latter will be the brains of the outfit,” Evans writes. “If this is correct then this suggests the iWatch will only be of interest to those who already own an iPhone (or iPad); it also suggests a relatively limited feature set — these things will pick up exercise and fitness data, make calls (via the iPhone), texts (via the iPhone) and enable verbal interrogation of some apps (via iPhone/Siri), and so on.”

Evans writes, “If I am right about this then I don’t think that constitutes a game-changing device. I do however still believe this may eventually morph into a full-fledged mobile device in its own right.”

Read more, including an interesting Passif patent regarding e-payments, in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple acquires low-energy chip developer Passif Semiconductor – August 1, 2013


  1. I think he is being un imaginative here. It suggests to me that it opens up what stated before an instant pay, membership card and multi functional pass that has immense potential for your every day life. And that may be but one aspect of its capabilities, after all evidence of one potential feature set is hardly indicative of a lack of others is it.

  2. This will be a very useful addition to Apple’s arsenal of anti-theft deterrence in Britain which seems to have a proliferation of especially dimwitted parents due perhaps in large part to people living isolated in an island or the apparent lack of the most common intelligence available to the rest of the world.

    Whatever the cause of the dimwittedness in Britain might be, a wearable computer that is worn on the wrist can act as a deterrent to parents inadvertently ‘on purpose’ giving away the password to their iTunes account because you have to pair the wearable wristband with the iPad to approve in-app purchases.

    That should deter any especially dim British claimants of mistaken charges to their credit card account.

    1. Sir, you may wish to recall that the occupants of this Sceptered Isle have a history that goes back 5000 years or so considering that the good ole US struggles to get beyond 1492. I think we can hardly be considered isolated compared to the occupants of certain mid western states. Every occupant of the UK lives no more than 75 miles from the nearest shoreline so we can at least escape if we need to.

    2. mmmmmmm I’d probably give our cousins a little more credit. When the shit hits the fan we can depend on them. Same goes for Canada,Australia and New Zealand. You want to throw Germany under the bus? Sure, go for it.

  3. Until we see one of those many claims of revolutionary new battery technologies actually come to pass, we’ll not be seeing a watch make a cell call on its own. At the rate battery tech has been progressing over the past 10 years or more, it will be at least another 10.

  4. More flights of fancy and analysis by anatomic extraction. We can all imagine what a purported iWatch might be/could be, but if and until we wear one on our wrist, this is little more than an idle circle jerk.

    The acquisition of Passif could certainly lead us to assume that a watch is on the way. But low power battery management can be applied to many aspects of mobile computing. Why writers and analysts alike think in such a narrow fashion disappoints me.

    Personally, I always laughed at images of Dick Tracy talking to his phone. I am most skeptical that an Apple produced watch would be used this way. Small screen size would render its use for other things besides Web surfing and email, but there are other ways in which a wearable device could be deployed.

    I for one am most interested in how a watch could be applied to health/fitness monitoring and management. This is already being done by devices such as the Up, Fitbit, Nike’s band and other products, but I have found the results to be limited and nascent. Often, Apple does not necessarily create a category so much as reinvent it, and with great success.

    Could a watch sense different things such as health, weather, communications signals and pass them along to an iPhone, iPad or Mac? Or would it be better as a standalone device, capable of sharing its data with other Apple devices, or receiving data from the cloud or your other devices? To make it wholly dependent on another device, in the way that the failed Blackberry Playbook attempted to do, would be ludicrous. I am sure that Apple would be smarter than that.

    Instead, I’d rather stop here. I’d rather not speculate, openly at least. I would rather sit back and be amazed should this come to pass. But to predict what Apple may do next is a fool’s errand. I guess that’s what analysts and tech writers are for – to be the utter fools that they are. Sadly, we readers have to suffer all their bull, and shake our heads to think they are well paid to waste the world’s time.

  5. Surely Apple’s interest in Passif is not confined to what they have already produced, but more to do with what their expertise may make possible in the near future ?

    Apple have been involved with low power consumption technologies for many years and Passif have a great track record for ultra low power devices that could communicate with other devices. Wearavles and contactless payment may be the obvious applications for their existing products, but there are possibilities to extend those technologies into cars and the home.

    I would bet that Apple is looking towards iPhones being able to communicate with a much wider range of devices than at the moment. Home automation looks like a particularly big opportunity.

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