Apple’s revolutionary iWallet is coming

“This week, Apple unveiled the first large-scale integration of iBeacon, a technology that, when coupled with their fingerprint identification system, may be another building block in building a revolutionary new payment system,” Tristan Louis writes for Forbes.

“iBeacons are little radio transmitters that use very small amounts of electricity and can send information to a smartphone. The technology leverages improvements in the Bluetooth standards called Bluetooth Low Energy and is available on every iOS device since the iPhone 4S and every Android phone that supports Bluetooth 4.0 and Android OS 4.3 or later,” Louis writes. “When a consumer gets close to an iBeacon, information can be pushed to their device via push messages and the consumer’s location is made available to the retailer, which can allow for such uses as in-store specific promotions or payment capabilities.”

“Earlier this year, with the rollout of iCloud Keychain on mobile devices, Apple started taking information from iTunes and Mac computers down to their users’ devices. With loyalty cards increasingly being stored into Passbook and credit card information being stored in iCloud Keychain, Apple has been downloading the content of consumer wallets onto its devices, leaving only cash as the use case it does not directly compete with,” Louis writes. “The net result is that, when combined with iCloud Keychain and Passbook, an iOS device sporting Touch ID is now more secure than a physical wallet. And since any iOS phone can turn into a point of sale, the last thing remaining in your wallet can easily be replaced as Apple has turned your phone into both an outbound payment system and a system that could potentially receive money too, with no physical credit card being required.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote this past Saturday:

Apple’s Next Big Thing™ arrived in stealth mode right under everyones’ noses.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tayster” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple could have 250 million iBeacon-capable units in the wild by 2014 – December 7, 2013
Apple turns on iBeacon to guide shoppers at 254 U.S. retail stores – December 6, 2013
Bar deploys Apple’s iBeacon to give patrons free access to Newsstand magazines – December 4, 2013
Macy’s becomes first retailer to deploy Apple’s iBeacon for in-store presence – November 20, 2013
Beyond retail: What’s next for indoor location tracking with Apple’s iBeacon – November 15, 2013
Apple’s location-tracking iBeacon is poised to explode across retail faster than anyone can imagine – October 25, 2013
Attention, retailers: With iBeacon, Apple has figured out mobile marketing – October 11, 2013
Apple’s iBeacon to deliver completely interactive experiences for fans at MLB stadiums – September 27, 2013
Apple’s amazing iOS 7: Three game-changers hidden in plain sight – September 26, 2013
Apple’s brilliant iBeacons system will enable purchases, contextual marketing, automated check-ins and much more – September 14, 2013
Apple’s NFC killer: iOS 7′s iBeacons – September 11, 2013
iBeacons may prove to be Apple’s biggest new feature for iOS 7 – August 29, 2013
Apple v. Android: Bang per watt – Apple’s massive advantage – August 13, 2013


    1. I live in the UK and find Maps to be better than my dedicated TomTom sat nav and a lot better than Google maps on iPhone.

      My work requires me to travel to places I’m unfamiliar with and it’s essential that I arrive in time. Maps has served me better than any other solution that I’ve used so far.

      I agree with you that we need iTunes radio here, but assume that’s more of a licensing delay than a technical issue.

  1. As I said before Maps here is fine for me and getting better though I accept for some there are deficiencies but that is inevitable for such software compared to something that has been around for ever it seems.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘editing’ for iTunes I guess spell checker could be improved and that is supposed to be ‘waiting’ perhaps. I suspect as instances of iBeacon have already been see here that certain outlets will be introducing it in the New (ish) Year (John Lewis perhaps). iWallet will likely have a long slow uptake and then a big take off methinks everywhere in the developed World.

  2. iTunes Radio is going to vary country-by-country due to licensing and broadcasting regulations. Not fair to compare it to Maps or iWallet.

    I suspect iWallet will initially roll out in the U.S., keeping the numbers limited so that Apple can properly implement and trouble-shoot the system before adding other countries gradually. Most of the technologies are already in use (e.g., Starbucks app lets Starbucks scan your iPhone, iTunes has the payment processing down, etc.), but launching a full-scale iWallet with debit and credit cards attached for millions of additional transactions a day is jumping to an entirely new level. Better to make sure the services work well in one region first before opening the doors to everyone and having problems.

  3. I recommend that you read the full article, not just the distiller version shown here. What Apple is accomplishing is that the company has built its strategy quietly, without fanfare and hype. Instead of forcing consumers to change and adapt, Apple has quietly built out its transaction strategy (I won’t call it an “iWallet” if Apple does not either) piece by piece, making the process transparent and painless for the user. That may be the real genius of this strategy: that the consumer hardly will notice that their buying behavior is changing.

    It will be interesting to see how the iBeacon evolves. While pundits are focused on its initial launch in Apple Stores, I think we will see the iBeacon technology applied in very interesting and useful ways. Imagine the possibilities, given its open APIs:

    – an innovative restaurant is using iBeacon to serve up newspapers and magazines to read while customers are within the proximimity of the iBeacons inside their facility.
    – iBeacons could be used for warehousing and inventory management, as well as for inventory management in retail settings
    – Museums and galleries could deploy iBeacons to guide visitors around exhibits
    – MLB will use iBeacons extensively starting with the 2014 season inside Major League Baseball stadiums.
    – hospitals could use iBeacons to track physicians or share information on a patient as soon as an iPad equipped doctor or nurse enters the patient’s room or an operating room
    – Airports could use iBeacons to keep travelers updated on flight status and gate changes.

    That is just the beginning. It will be fascinating to see the unexpected uses and benefits of iBeacon beyond the obvious. The wallet may be just the beginning of how the iBeacon, in conjunction with other technologies in your hand and I the cloud, will greatly impact us in the future.

    So often, we read puffy declarations by the pundits on this site. But when you look back, often, the most impactful changes and revolutions started small, and were missed by the pundits and self-anointed know-it-alls of this world. That Apple has moved so quietly, working on this initiative step-by-step over a number of years shows that changes like this often quietly evolve.

    We demand revolution, as analysts and pundits often do. But quiet evolution, rather than revolution, is often what has the greatest and most lasting impact on our lives.

    1. Brian, I agree.

      I also see it being much bigger then others have commented. I see Apple being able to grow to become the largest banking transaction company in the world in very short order.
      Eliminating plastic credit/debit cards and iBeacon helping stop CC theft. The thing others are not talking about is if Apple “extended” credit to customers like credit cards. Now that would be game-set-match. It’s not like Apple has to worry about having enough cash to cover debts and they could surely handle transactions better then the banks systems.
      Think about it. If they cut the interest rates CC’s companies charge, to say half because they can, the banks would shit bricks. That alone would should make the criminal bankers shutter in the cold heartless chests.

      I’m all for getting rid of the slimeball, bailed out, fatcat criminal bankers and their fixed games. Bring it on Apple!

    2. ADDENDUM: What I find interesting is that Apple has adroitly not chosen sides. The credit card issuers are fighting among themselves, and Google wants to have everyone use its Wallet. Companies like Square and Paypal will duke it out over which credit card standard to use. What Apple has done is to be more agnostic, and make iBeacon APIs available to developers. There will be competition from companies like Qualcomm, which just announced plans for a technology to compete with iBeacon, and of course, NFC (Near Field Communications) will try to do the same.

      iBeacons are relatively cheap, and are designed to work in small broadcast circumferences, something great for stores, hospitals, warehouses, restaurants and museums, to name a few examples. By keeping away from trying to be too proprietary, allowing for shared APIs, and allowing for broad applications for iBeacon, Apple can compete. For transactions, for short-range communications, and for other uses we might not imagine now. That last point is important.

      But for transactions and sharing of information, it will be fascinating to see how iBeacon, when combined with TouchID, iCloud Keychain, iTunes accounts and likely more layers of technology and capability to come, can allow Apple to offer a formidible array of solutions and services to retail, service, healthcare and industrial companies, as well as public facilities such as airports.

      I do love the future.

  4. The technology is cool, but in another generation I wonder how it will be used by noncommercial entities. And we complain about how we get tracked now, what do you think Ibeacon and similar technologies will do? Yikes!

    okay putting my tinfoil hat back on

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