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Apple nabs parental controls patent for 'iWallet' transactions

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Apple on Tuesday was granted a major patent pertaining to the rules and methods of electronic payment transactions, as well as a detailed description of how future devices could implement the parameters to create a seamless credit card-based system with an iTunes backend.

The new patent, titled "Parental Controls," essentially establishes a set of guidelines which governs how users complete mobile electronic transactions and tightens security for device owners who have multiple accounts linked to a product or set of products.

Since 2010, Apple has filed a series of so-called "iWallet" patents that deal with mobile device payments including NFC systems that are linked to credit and debit accounts. The new rules would dictate how these transactions are made and by whom, thus allowing for tight control of finances for end users of the patented technology.

From the patent summary:
Quote:
A method, comprising: defining one or more rules using a handheld electronic device, wherein the one or more rules establish restrictions on transactions made using a financial account associated with an account holder other than the user of the handheld electronic device; and applying the one or more rules to the financial account.

Integral to the patent is the definition of primary and subsidiary account holders, for example a parent and their child. In this model, the system would allow the parent to control their child's mobile transactions by setting predetermined limits that can then be transmitted to a designated financial institution that manages the subsidiary account.

Limits can be based on transaction amounts, spending over a given period of time and location, among other variables, giving the primary account holder a great deal of flexibility in restricting a subsidiary account. Although an iPhone was not specifically listed as the "handheld electronic device," the handset would be able to offer the data connectivity, geo-location data and processing functionality Apple is looking for in order to implement the control system.


Example of subsidiary account restrictions for mobile transactions.


Of particular note are illustrations included in the patent filing that show iTunes acting as the hub through which transaction and financial information is passed. The tie-in would give Apple's extremely popular online media store the power to field real world transactions.


iTunes could be the hub of Apple's "iWallet" solution.


Advancements in Near Field Communication (NFC) and the gradual market shift away from cash has sparked an interest for tech companies to create so-called virtual wallets that allow users to pay with mobile devices instead of cash or credit cards.

Current NFC chips leverage RFID technology to either exchange data between two mobile devices that are in close proximity to each other, or read data from unpowered RFID chips. Google Wallet and Isis are examples of NFC payment systems, though though the former has yet to gain traction while the latter is expected to see release on select handsets this summer.

Apple's proposed system can be thought of as a more robust version of contactless payment solutions like those used in some major credit cards like MasterCard's PayPass.

Recently, the credit giant acknowledged that Apple could be a key player in bringing NFC tech into the mainstream due to iTunes' massive installed customer base, though the Cupertino, Calif., company has yet to utilize any of its "iWallet" patents.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Of particular note are illustrations included in the patent filing that show iTunes acting as the hub through which transaction and financial information is passed.

Ah, they'll want to make iTunes get hacked less often before I ever commit to using it for that purpose.

4096-bit RSA encryption ought to do it.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Of particular note are illustrations included in the patent filing that show iTunes acting as the hub through which transaction and financial information is passed.

With the requisite 30% service fee?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 18
I'm not even sure I care about NFC anymore.

I've had something for years:

- a plastic card
- accepted everywhere
- easily replaceable if I lose it

Debit Card!
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Ah, they'll want to make iTunes get hacked less often before I ever commit to using it for that purpose.

4096-bit RSA encryption ought to do it.

That's not why people get hacked. They get hacked because they use the same password with all their accounts, or someone is social engineering people at the Apple store. My CC has been on file with Apple for years. It's funny because I bought something from the apple store one day and they already had it on file.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

With the requisite 30% service fee?

Maybe off the 1.75 to 3.75% transaction charge to the banks.

I think Apple's goal is to ultimately cut out the middle men. Just deal with Visa/MasterCard directly, not the banks.

Likewise with the mobile carriers, I think at some point you'll just get your wireless service from "Apple" that just runs on top whatever carrier is available like how Virgin Mobile already sells service in multiple countries without owning any local infrastructure.

The end game is that you can just buy everything from your iPhone/iPad/AppleTV/Mac, anywhere, anytime. Think of an example where you can ask Siri to find you a place to have a drink, inquire all the local drinking establishments who make it and their ratings, and then order/pay for the drink without having to get the attention of the server. That's one example that people can relate to. (Having to wait to get your order taken or payment.)
post #6 of 18
Imagine a world where your cellphone not only contains not only all your payment options, but also every form of ID imaginable, including your passport and other govt IDs. It connects to a web portal which you opt-in to that contains as much data as you can pump into it. For security, everything is protected by a 2-tier password (biometics, and a PIN).

That my friends is the promise of NFC. Convenience AND security. The only people that would need or want plastic are old farts resistant to change.
post #7 of 18
That patent is exactly what I've been talking about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

I'm not even sure I care about NFC anymore.

I've had something for years:

- a plastic card
- accepted everywhere
- easily replaceable if I lose it

Debit Card!

NFC offers additional security without any of the negatives that RFID has. NFC has a very short transmission length and creates a loop. This way it can't be as easily stolen like with a card and used without your knowledge. If they do steal your phone hopefully you have a PIN setup. You'd likely also have the option to use a PIN for the iWallet app.

If it's lost you can use Find My iPhone to locate it. If it's stolen you can do the same and remotely wipe it. Of course, they can turn off your phone all that goes out the window but they also can't use your iWallet for payments, either. They can always clone your device but they could do that now and NFC would be encrypted in ways that a plastic card can't. It's inherently more secure.

That said, it doesn't mean it can completely replace plastic.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 18
If iWallet is connected into iTunes, that would mean entering the same credit card number twice: Once for the actual iTunes account in order to make purchases on digital goods and once for iWallet to make purchases on physical goods. However, it is possible that Apple would want to simplify the experience and lock users into the iTunes accounts (because it helps encourage the iTunes ecosystem then), thereby making that account the "primary hub of payment methods". Under the current model, this could not work, thusly suggesting that iTunes accounts might be finally getting redone and broken into sub-accounts and ones that could merge (should you decide you want to connect your credit card to another account)! It could help out a lot with the iCloud account mess and the current chaos for users with more than one account
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa View Post

Maybe off the 1.75 to 3.75% transaction charge to the banks.

I think Apple's goal is to ultimately cut out the middle men. Just deal with Visa/MasterCard directly, not the banks.

That's why I've been prognosticating. I even suggested Apple could offer points for getting free content on iTS.

Even if you want to take it to the extreme Apple has a much higher percentage of value to cash than most banks and with $100B in cash it could easily be a bank.

Still, I think there is a good chance they will work with MC to get NFC off the ground on a national level, and then expand from there.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misa View Post

I think Apple's goal is to ultimately cut out the middle men. Just deal with Visa/MasterCard directly, not the banks.

Visa and MasterCard are the middle men. Both were created by banks to process card transactions. If Apple really wanted to cut
other entities out of the loop, they need to issue their own credit/debit card. This would require them to become a financial
institution, with all the corollary requirements.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtm135 View Post

Imagine a world where your cellphone not only contains not only all your payment options, but also every form of ID imaginable, including your passport and other govt IDs. It connects to a web portal which you opt-in to that contains as much data as you can pump into it. For security, everything is protected by a 2-tier password (biometics, and a PIN).

That my friends is the promise of NFC. Convenience AND security. The only people that would need or want plastic are old farts resistant to change.

Yes but its all fun and games until someone loses a finger (or an eye).

If biometric information is if stolen it cannot be changed (unlike a credit card number).
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

I'm not even sure I care about NFC anymore.

I've had something for years:

- a plastic card
- accepted everywhere
- easily replaceable if I lose it

Debit Card!

Concerns over security are definitely very understandable. But don't forget - NFC is not just for buying sodas. It could also be used to:

-exchange money between everyday people (like a more elegant Square)
-to share a contact between friends, or a link at a public place (touch the poster here to watch the movie's trailer)
-quickly share info between an individual's devices
-pay for public transit
-pair a Bluetooth or other accessory with just a touch
-set up multiplayer games in an instant

The possibilities are myriad.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

If it's lost you can use Find My iPhone to locate it. If it's stolen you can do the same and remotely wipe it. Of course, they can turn off your phone all that goes out the window but they also can't use your iWallet for payments, either. They can always clone your device but they could do that now and NFC would be encrypted in ways that a plastic card can't. It's inherently more secure.

Can you not set your iPhone to be wiped even it is off, so that it gets wiped the minute it is turned on?
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Can you not set your iPhone to be wiped even it is off, so that it gets wiped the minute it is turned on?

You can. You can even send a lock request (if you don't keep a PIN enabled) and send a message... and have it email you if any of those take place.

This also works on your Mac, too. Not sure about the remote wipe but you can lock it which is a 6 digit pin and looks to be part of the firmware boot process.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You can. You can even send a lock request (if you don't keep a PIN enabled) and send a message... and have it email you if any of those take place.

This also works on your Mac, too. Not sure about the remote wipe but you can lock it which is a 6 digit pin and looks to be part of the firmware boot process.

Ok, thanks. I am way too relaxed when it comes to security. I must brush up on Thea things. I have lost devices, been burgled and hacked, so I have no excuses.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Ok, thanks. I am way too relaxed when it comes to security. I must brush up on Thea things. I have lost devices, been burgled and hacked, so I have no excuses.

i lost my iPad 2. My fault. I sent the wipe and to receive a notification... nothing. But not surprising since it was WiFI-only and it won't auto-join WiF so unless it was on and got connected to a know hotspot that doesn't have an annoying splash page I would remain in the dark.

On my iPhone I have the SIM card locked so even if they do turn it on it still won't connect to the network. Perhaps that a good reason to turn off SIM locking. I can't even recall why I enabled it but I'm certain it was for some security measure.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #17 of 18
Get the iTunes on steroid already. Full 64-bit.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Get the iTunes on steroid already. Full 64-bit.

No, no. Rewrite it from the ground UP. Leave NO code untouched.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
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