The appointment of a product manager isn’t usually something to get gadget fans het up in anticipation. But the arrival of Cupertino’s new man in change of mobile commerce has done just that.
See, Benjamin Vigier slides into his desk at Infinite Loop with a raft of experience in NFC, or near-field communications, the mobile wallet tech that’s been threatening to take off for the best part of three years. He’s helped Starbucks create a bardcode-based way of paying for your morning coffee and even set-up Paypal Mobile.
So what? Well, Apple has already filed a string of patents regarding NFC on the iPhone, and Vigier’s appointment could well mean the iPhone 5 will see some of the action. Its arrival would mean you could have a virtual credit card on your phone, allowing you to pay for everything from cake to clothes by waving your blower across a dedicated reader. Many stores already have PayWave readers in place thanks to similar tech being embedded in credit and debit cards.
O2 and Nokia’s mobile wallet trial was deemed a success back in 2008, but NFC payments are yet to hit the big time in any meaningful way. It could take the iPhone 5 to get everyone using their mobile as their wallet as well.