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Will Apple Make the M-Wallet a Reality?

iPad2 or iPhone5 Feature?

Lately there has been a lot of rumor on the web about the iPhone 5, or whatever it will be called... 4GS? Also today we have the announcement of the iPad 2. One thing that most iSpeculators and Technical iBloggers seem to agree on, with regard to the iPhone 5, along with more internal memory for running of programs and a faster processor, is the use of NFC (Near Field Communication). Yes still speculation until the time the next iPhone will be announced, which will probably be in June at Apple's WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference), but worth talking about in advance. I am also wondering if we will see NFC in the iPad 2 or will Apple wait until a later rev?

As a quick example of NFC think, think of something many thousands of London Commuters use use daily, the London Undergrounds successful use of the Oyster Card and beyond that Barclaycard's Contactless Payment systems.

For many years in the Nordic Regions, carriers have worked with retailers to have some automatic vending machines work with the use of SMS (Simple Message Services). In this scenario the customer could text a defined message to a SMS short code, which would be specific to that vending machine and have something within the machine dispensed, and the payment taken from their phone bill. A basic form of electronic payment or an e-wallet, but still having quite a few distinct steps within the process and relying on older technology.

NFC could also be used to communicate with RFID tags, which some manufacturers use on high value goods, within warehouses and have also been used for interactive advertising. Obviously that could take us further down the route of 'Minority Report' and could easily become more intrusive within our "Mobile Lifestyle", lets hope if that happens there will be a setting to turn off that feature.

Electronic Keys could also be possible, with your car realizing that now you are sitting within the vehicle with your iPhone, specifically set to that vehicle. The ignition could then be enabled to start. Thinking ahead it would be great for that iPhone to then place itself in a mode that can only be used in a hands-free basis... Touché to you guys that still iPhone whilst you drive! We have all seen you...Shame on you.

M-WalletLately the iPhone and iPad has become part of our daily routine. A meaningful and helpful part of our hectic lifestyle, bringing multiple feature together into one device. One device that is capable of voice communications, electronic communications, entertainment and possibly a true M-Wallet accessible by specific applications and outlets. In turn this feature makes security of the actual device itself more necessary.

We have PIN cods on our credit and debit cards, so should you already on your iPhone. A future iPhone with similar financial capabilities would also need the user to be responsible... Get used to setting your device passcode with something more secure! But I also think that with Apple's track record on innovative services/features and the hardware features that the iPhone 4 already has, expect something special. I would like to speculate that sometime in the future the iPhone 4/iPad 2 and beyond will also be able to use the user facing camera and facial recognition to give you another level of security. Apple have had facial recognition capability in products such as iPhoto for a while, but acquired Swedish company Polar Rose in September 2010, who's expertise was facial recognition and it is expected by many that those guys could fill that gap.

Whatever happens, the next device is sure to take its 'magic factor' to another level with new features and cement it deeper into our daily life... M-Lifestyle

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More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain