You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Apple Considers Mobile Payments To Be 'One Of The Thoughts Behind Touch ID'

Apple Considers Mobile Payments To Be 'One Of The Thoughts Behind Touch ID'

January 28, 2014

During the company’s recent financial results conference call, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook was asked about the state of the mobile payments market and how this relates to the iPhone 5s handset’s use of a Touch ID sensor. Cook said that mobile payments was “one of the thoughts behind Touch ID,” noting that Apple finds mobile transactions “intriguing” but declining to elaborate further.

The news comes just a couple of days after a similar report argued that Apple is planning on taking on PayPal, Square, and other competing products with its own mobile payments system. Our article explained that Apple is looking “to leverage its iDevice user base with a great number of credit cards already tied to its iTunes Store,” and cited The Wall Street Journal’s original report, which noted:

Eddy Cue, Apple’s iTunes and App Store chief and a key lieutenant of Chief Executive Tim Cook, has met with industry executives to discuss Apple’s interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its devices, according to people familiar with the situation.

In another sign of the company’s interest, Apple moved Jennifer Bailey, a longtime executive who was running its online stores, into a new role to build a payment business within the technology giant, three people with knowledge of the move said.

During Apple’s recent conference call, however, one question appeared to follow up on this report, and as such CEO Tim Cook was asked about Apple’s relationship with the mobile payments industry in specific relation to its Touch ID fingerprint scanning technology.

Here’s the question: “Can you talk a bit more about opportunities in the mobile payment market? Maybe talk about what you’re seeing with regard to use of the touch sensor for mobile payments in your iTunes Store, and then how you sort of think about this as an opportunity.”

Cook responded:

Let me sort of avoid the last part of the question. But in general, we’re seeing that people love being able to buy content - whether it’s music or movies or books, from their iPhone using Touch ID. It’s incredibly simple and easy, and elegant, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of opportunity there.

The mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with. That was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID, but we’re not limiting ourselves just to that. So I don’t have anything specific to announce today. But you can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers, and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it’s a big opportunity on the platform.

Though nothing concrete is offered by Cook, Apple’s intrigue at the mobile payments industry and how iDevices can fit into this sector is significant, especially given The Wall Street Journal’s recent report. It’s long been known that iDevice owners use their smartphones and tablets to make a lot of mobile purchases, and it’ll be interesting to see if Cook’s comments materialize at some point in the future.

We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.

In the meantime, see: Facebook Reportedly Hiring Editors For Flipboard-Like News Aggregation App Paper, GIF Messaging App Relay Updated With iOS 7 Redesign And Unlimited Chat History, and All-In-One Productivity App Pocket Informant Goes Freemium With New Features.