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Apple's iPhone e-wallet concept includes controllable subsidiary accounts for children

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Apple's idea for an "e-wallet" iPhone application would allow subsidiary accounts for children, complete with customizable spending limits and restrictions.

Patent


Apple's interest in the concept was revealed in a patent application published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled "Parental Controls." It describes ways that a user could establish rules for subsidiary financial accounts.

The proposed invention shows a hypothetical application on the iPhone home screen named "E-Wallet." The software allows users to have a primary account tied to a credit card, allowing transactions to be conducted with an iPhone.

The key feature of the filing are the E-Wallet subsidiary accounts. By creating one, the user can allow new users, such as children, to have access to the E-Wallet app with controlled spending limits.

The customizable rules would allow a parent to set, for example, a weekly or monthly allowance for their children. The application would also enable parents to decline transactions if they are over a certain amount of money.

Parents could also restrict transactions from certain merchant categories, or even block sales to a specific merchant or location. In one example, the application is set to prevent the user from purchasing alcohol or tobacco with Apple's iPhone e-wallet.

Patent


Illustrations included in Apple's patent filing show that the concept for the E-Wallet application would include purchase history, bill summary, and the ability to search for specific transactions. The E-Wallet app would be driven by users' existing credit cards, with numbers entered into the software to link them together.

The filing goes on to note that a future iPhone could have an integrated near-field communication chip to supplement the E-Wallet app. It notes that communication using the NFC component would occur in a range of 2 to 4 centimeters.

The proposed invention, published by the USPTO this week, is a continuation of a filing first made by Apple in January of 2009, and issued as U.S. Patent No. 8,127,982 in March of 2012. It is credited to Brandon J. Casey, Gary L. Wipfler, and Erik Cressall.
post #2 of 17
Hoping the thumbprint technology is true, they implement NFC, and expand passbook with these capabilities- making it actually useful.

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #3 of 17
The idea of a master accout (e-wallet) with subsidiary accounts is great and will simplified the lives of millions of parents. If the subsidiary account is linked to another apple id it would mean that a child account can be unhooked from the parent (master) account which I think most parents would love as much as their kids who would get greater autonomy.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

Hoping the thumbprint technology is true, they implement NFC, and expand passbook with these capabilities- making it actually useful.

 

According to the Patent this E-Wallet App would use NFC.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The filing goes on to note that a future iPhone could have an integrated near-field communication chip to supplement the E-Wallet app. It notes that communication using the NFC component would occur in a range of 2 to 4 centimeters.
 

So it appears we may see NFC in a future iPhone, hopefully this year.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

The idea of a master accout (e-wallet) with subsidiary accounts is great and will simplified the lives of millions of parents. If the subsidiary account is linked to another apple id it would mean that a child account can be unhooked from the parent (master) account which I think most parents would love as much as their kids who would get greater autonomy.

 

I think this could also mean Apple is investigating adding multiple user accounts to iOS.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

 

According to the Patent this E-Wallet App would use NFC.

 

 

So it appears we may see NFC in a future iPhone, hopefully this year.

 

I wouldn't bet on it.  

 

This is an old patent that is rather obviously using some generic terms to cover as much territory as possible.  In addition, the entirety of the patent is contained in the part before they even mention NFC.  It's a software patent.  

 

It's a mistake to think that this patent relies on NFC technology just because it happens to mention it, in what amounts to an aside, at the end.  

 

From everything I've read on the subject, NFC is an inherently insecure technology and since the NFC part could easily be swapped out for Bluetooth, WiFi, or even some other technology we haven't heard of yet without effectively changing this patent at all, it's not exactly correct to say that the publication of the patent means we are due for an iPhone with NFC.    

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

I wouldn't bet on it.  

 

This is an old patent that is rather obviously using some generic terms to cover as much territory as possible.  In addition, the entirety of the patent is contained in the part before they even mention NFC.  It's a software patent.  

 

It's a mistake to think that this patent relies on NFC technology just because it happens to mention it, in what amounts to an aside, at the end.  

 

From everything I've read on the subject, NFC is an inherently insecure technology and since the NFC part could easily be swapped out for Bluetooth, WiFi, or even some other technology we haven't heard of yet without effectively changing this patent at all, it's not exactly correct to say that the publication of the patent means we are due for an iPhone with NFC.    

 

I understand what you're saying, but wouldn't NFC be the most likely for them to implement because a network for NFC payment (albeit small) already exist?

 

Also I could be mistaken but didn't Authentec makes devices that used NFC combined with fingerprint recognition for security? I would assume Apple bought the company to use that technology or a similar system in an upcoming iPhone?

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

 

I understand what you're saying, but wouldn't NFC be the most likely for them to implement because a network for NFC payment (albeit small) already exist?

 

Also I could be mistaken but didn't Authentec makes devices that used NFC combined with fingerprint recognition for security? I would assume Apple bought the company to use that technology or a similar system in an upcoming iPhone?

 

Yeah, possibly.  That's why I said "don't bet on it" instead of "never happen."  The presence of NFC in today's article about the patent made me pause a bit, but on reflection and on balance, I still think they *probably* won't do it.  

post #9 of 17
Why not? It isn't like Apple to jump into something like NFC and not have all thier ducks in a row. In this case the duck that needs to be put in line is NFC security. I suspect that Apple wants hardware verification of the user, that is thuumb print detection, before they even consider NFC in their phones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

I wouldn't bet on it.  

This is an old patent that is rather obviously using some generic terms to cover as much territory as possible.  In addition, the entirety of the patent is contained in the part before they even mention NFC.  It's a software patent.  
So? The patent implies support of NFC which doesn't mean much in and of itself. However it does mean that Apple is aware of the technology.
Quote:
It's a mistake to think that this patent relies on NFC technology just because it happens to mention it, in what amounts to an aside, at the end.  
I don't think anybody is implying that the patent relies on NFC. What people see here is a few things coming together that could result in Apple supporting NFC.
Quote:
From everything I've read on the subject, NFC is an inherently insecure technology and since the NFC part could easily be swapped out for Bluetooth, WiFi, or even some other technology we haven't heard of yet without effectively changing this patent at all, it's not exactly correct to say that the publication of the patent means we are due for an iPhone with NFC.    
Inherently insecure? I'm not sure where you get that idea. In the basic sense NFC is about extremely low power radio communications. As such it is no more or no less secure than any other type of RF communications. The protocol used may or may not be secure but that is not the hardware technology itself. Further a smartly designed NFC system would keep the electronics turned off until an authorized user was ready to make a transaction.

You are right in the sense of one thing patents do not imply new products. Many patents are issued for devices that never make it to market. However Passbook clearly demonstrates that Apple has a plan of some sort, the buying up of finger print technology further biases us in the direction of E-Wallet tech. E-Wallet is rationally associated with NFC. So while the patent confirms nothing it does significantly increase the probability that Apple is working on NFC technology.

One of the reasons I suspect that banks have been slow to take up NFC is that they want to know with a certain degree of certainty that the transaction is coming from an authorized user. An iPhone with a finger print sensor provides a way to do this securely. For example regular networking could be used to verify and authorize the transaction before the NFC is even turned on.
post #10 of 17
I'm not sure how the article moves the probability in the won't direction. If anything it would seem to bias us towards the possibility. It might not be the NFC communications that you are expecting but that really doesn't mean much. Technology evolves and weaknesses are dealt with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Yeah, possibly.  That's why I said "don't bet on it" instead of "never happen."  The presence of NFC in today's article about the patent made me pause a bit, but on reflection and on balance, I still think they *probably* won't do it.  
post #11 of 17
I agree with wizard and blackbook. NFC implementation is already there- and not just in a small scale- it's everywhere. Any major store has it, and several smaller stores do. Well over half of the places around me do. I'm in McKinney- which is on the outskirts of Dallas suburbia (about 20-30 miles north).

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
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post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbook View Post

I understand what you're saying, but wouldn't NFC be the most likely for them to implement because a network for NFC payment (albeit small) already exist?

 

Unless Apple can figure out a way to get a percentage by starting their own network.

 

 

Also I could be mistaken but didn't Authentec makes devices that used NFC combined with fingerprint recognition for security? I would assume Apple bought the company to use that technology or a similar system in an upcoming iPhone?

 

Close.  Authentec announced a sensor designed to work with NFC mobile commerce applications.   It doesn't have NFC itself, but they advertise it as being for devices that do.

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

 

Unless Apple can figure out a way to get a percentage by starting their own network.

 

Does Google Wallet take a percentage or do they just use established card agencies like Visa and Mastercard? 

 

Are you suggesting Apple uses Apple IDs and connected credit accounts so people can make in store retail purchases directly from their Apple ID? 

 

That would be interesting, but then wouldn't that turn an iTunes gift card into an "anything-you-want-to-pay-for-with-your-iPhone" gift card?

 

Also I would hope if Apple goes that direction that their system is seamlessly compatible with current NFC payment devices at stores, so that it can have immedient mass adoption.

post #14 of 17
It is interesting. Talk about a shake-up. What if Apple could roll out where they take a small percentage of every transaction, much like a credit card (or PayPal- which many terminals have). The vendor pays that instead of a credit card fee.

2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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2012 27" iMac i7, 2010 27" iMac i7, 2011 Mac Mini i5
iPad Air, iPad Mini Retina, (2) iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5
Time Capsule 5, (3) AirPort Express 2, (2) Apple TV 3

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post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

It is interesting. Talk about a shake-up. What if Apple could roll out where they take a small percentage of every transaction, much like a credit card (or PayPal- which many terminals have). The vendor pays that instead of a credit card fee.

 

I was surprised when I saw that even the local dollar store accepts payments via PayPal. This could be the next big thing for them, not TVs lol.gif

post #16 of 17
I wouldn't put bets on NFC. There are different versions and each takes substantial investments for retailers to implement. And it requires it's own antenna. Low power bluetooth, however, is already here and in most devices. With cameras and QR, NFC is not needed.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post

I wouldn't put bets on NFC. There are different versions and each takes substantial investments for retailers to implement. And it requires it's own antenna. Low power bluetooth, however, is already here and in most devices. With cameras and QR, NFC is not needed.

Is low powered Bluetooth currently in the majority of point of sale computers and devices retailers use?

My concern with Apple using something different than NFC is slow adoption to Apples specific standard. At that point it would be pointless.

If Apple wants a splash their system needs to be compatible with current point of sale standards so that it can be rapidly adopted by consumers. Then Apple could make a profit off the system.
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