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For Apple, your fingerprint may be the key to your iWallet

Published Jan 28th, 2014 10:37AM EST
iPhone Touch ID Mobile Payments

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After a report last week claimed that Apple is building its own wireless payment service, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was “more or less” asked by an analyst during the company’s recent quarterly earnings report whether such a service is indeed in the making, Re/code reports. The analyst asked Cook to talk about mobile payment markets, the “use of touch sensor at iTunes,” and his opinion on such an opportunity.

“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,” Cook said. “It’s incredibly simple 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, and that was one of the thoughts behind the Touch ID,” the CEO added. However, Cook said Apple that Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which is currently available only on the iPhone 5s, isn’t limited to payments, without further elaborating on the matter.

While saying that he doesn’t have anything specific to announce during the earnings call, Cook said that when looking at the demographics of Apple’s customers and at “the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition,” you can say there’s “a big opportunity on the platform.”

The company may not be saying too much about an iWallet project at this time, but Apple has various patents describing wireless payments technologies that could be used in the future together with its impressive iTunes user base – as of June 2013, Apple had 575 million iTunes accounts – for wireless payments.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.