On Wednesday we posted a report titled "An iWallet Rumor Surfaces Pointing to it debuting with iPhone 6." In that report we noted that Amir Efrati, Senior Reporter for The Information reported that "Conversations between Apple and payments-industry companies have heated up in recent months, with several people briefed on the talks saying that Apple executives have discussed launching a mobile wallet as soon as this fall for people to use their iPhones to pay for goods in physical stores." It now appears that this news emanated, to a certain degree, from a Visa press release that came to light less than 24 hours later. Visa announced the creation of Visa Digital Solutions, a comprehensive suite of offerings that facilitate secure payments across a broad range of Internet-connected devices and wearables.
Visa's announcement came just a week after they cancelled their work on their own mobile wallet, clearing the way for it to act as a partner rather than a competitor to hardware manufacturers seeking to bring their own mobile wallet services to market. It's been noted that Visa has already signed on to a partnership with Samsung going back to Q1 2014.
In Visa's press release they noted that "in 2014, commerce initiated with mobile phones and tablets is expected to total $114 billion in the U.S. alone, according to research firm Forrester. Two-thirds of those sales will happen via tablet computers, while the remainder will occur on mobile phones."
With Apple's iPad being the number one tablet in the world, it stands to reason why it's expected that Apple will be on board with Visa. And with Apple's CEO pounding the table earlier this week by stating that significant innovation is coming to the iPad, there's no way that Visa would snub Apple.
Sam Shrauger, senior vice president, Visa Inc. stated in their press release that "Visa Digital Solutions provides the standards, tools and services to turn any Internet-connected device into a secure vehicle for commerce. Smartphone manufacturers can securely load a Visa account within a device, merchants can directly embed Visa payment functionality into their mobile apps and financial institutions can offer mobile and online payments as part of their mobile banking applications."
This is what Amir Efrati of The Information noted in his report and we added that it could be securely embedded into Apple's secure enclave that was first introduced with the iPhone 5S's A7 processor.
Timing to Market
On paper, it seems that Efrati may have jumped the gun talking about the iWallet being ready for the iPhone 6 this fall. It's likely to miss the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 though it could be ready for the 5.5 inch iPhone model if Apple delays it into early 2015. I say this because Visa provided a basic timeline for their solution. They noted that "Many offerings within the Visa Digital Solutions suite are available today, with the full range of capabilities expected to be commercially available in the U.S. by January 2015, and global rollouts throughout the year."
In the end, the rumor about Apple possibly launching an iWallet solution for the iPhone 6 this fall is now razor thin, though still not impossible. However, it's more likely it could become a reality sometime in 2015. Though keep that in perspective. The iWallet has been promised for some time now and it's yet to really take off. Back in late 2010 the ISIS group was to launch a successful electronic wallet program that Apple was to be a part of and that never panned out.
Apple's iWallet, or whatever they officially decide to brand it, is definitely something that Apple has been working on for years. And as always, Apple will release their full e-commerce solution when they're confident that it can be secure for iDevice owners. The iWallet is a major feature that Apple has to get right. Being first to market with an iWallet comes a distant second to getting it right.
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