On May 2, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that they're once again advancing their NFC project which began back in 2008. Apple has established a firm foundation for future NFC applications ranging from shopping, banking and everyday interconnectivity with other devices in the home, with a friend or retailer. Today's patent application relates to methods for setting payment option preferences in Apple's future e-commerce app that they've temporarily dubbed as the "Shopping" app.
Apple Advances their "Near Field Communications" Project
In the 2008-2010 timeline, Apple introduced a number of Near Field Communication (NFC) centric patent applications covering everything from Tickets to iTravel and much more. More specifically, Apple revealed an extensive patent filing for NFC as it related to "Shopping." Apple's first patent application laid the foundation for their future "Shopping" app and many of the patent figures share a commonality. Today's published patent focuses on methods of setting payment option preferences and more.
Specifically, Apple's invention relates to techniques for executing purchase transactions, and related transactions, using a portable electronic device.
For example, in some embodiments, a portable electronic device may be configured to recognize a retailer and recommend a payment method that accord with a consumer's preferences for that retailer or that provides a particular benefit when used at that retailer.
Alternatively, or in addition, the portable electronic device may recognize that particular goods or services are being purchased and may recommend payment methods that provide a benefit when purchasing those goods or services.
In some embodiments, the portable electronic device may be used to initiate a purchase transaction with the retailer and complete the purchase transaction by selecting a preferred payment option. In other embodiments, the portable electronic device may recommend payment methods and wait for feedback from a user before completing the transaction.
Apple states that the recommended payment options may be set by the consumer. Specifically, the consumer may set preferences related to payment methods stored in the portable electronic device. The preferences may relate to interest rate, current balance, rewards, etc. to maximize benefits to the consumer.
Alternatively, the portable electronic device may autonomously procure incentives related to a particular retailer, payment method, or goods and services and provide recommendations based on the information gathered.
Once you set your payment preferences, walking into a store as noted in patent figure 8 above will prepare your iPhone for a transaction with that particular retailer. The other patent figure is a new graphic for shopping that simply illustrates that the consumer and retailer can make a transaction without a cash register needed. The retailer tallies the amount of the purchases and simply transfers the bill to the consumer with the two devices tapping.
Apple credits Andrew Hodge, Michael Rosenblatt, Amir Mikhak, Gloria Ling and Taido Nakajima as the inventors of patent application 20130110709 which was originally in Q3 2012. To review Apple's patent claims, see Apple's patent filing. If you've never read up on Apple's NFC patents before, you could always check out our iWallet and NFC Archives to get up to speed.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing to market of such an Apple product is unknown at this time.
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