Apple Patent Gives Glimpse At iPhone NFC Ambitions

Apple Patent Gives Glimpse At iPhone NFC Ambitions

In an otherwise routine disgorgement of recently awarded design patents for extant Apple products, one notable little slip: an E-Wallet icon tattooed in at the bottom of a pen-and-ink lithograph representing the familiar iOS home screen of every new iPhone.

That E-Wallet icon could betray Apple’s ambitions for near-field communications with a future NFC-capable iPhone 5. Near-field communications would not only allow future iPhones to be used for mobile credit card payments just by waving the device with Obi-Wan-style nonchalance in front of a teller or kiosk, but also are rumored to enable Apple’s ambitious remote computing strategy by allowing Mac users to effectively carry their most critical Mac files and settings around with them.

Presumably, E-Wallet would be the iOS app giving user access to NFC data. Not that it will necessarily be called that: as Patently Apple points out, E-Wallet is trademarked to someone else, and trademark trolls are already sitting on three seaerate iWallet trademarks, hoping to get Cupertino to write them a check.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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