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09:04 AM
Bryan Yurcan
Bryan Yurcan
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Will Apple Pursue A Mobile Wallet?

The company unveiled the very wallet-like Passbook app at its Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday.

Though I'm not one of those people who breathlessly awaits announcements of new products from Apple, a new application announced at the tech giant's Worldwide Developers Conference yesterday could be of interest to the world of financial services.

Apple's head of iOS software development Scott Forstall unveiled the company's new Passbook app, that looks a lot like a mobile wallet.

[See Also: Will Mobile Wallets Replace Their Traditional Counterparts?]

Passbook will arrive in the autumn along with iOS 6 and can be downloaded for the iPhone or iPad. Its features include the ability to store card information, airline boarding passes, coupons or concert tickets, and it uses geo-location technology to display targeted offers to the user. An example of this feature the company gave is a Passbook user going to a Starbucks and opening the app, where the user would then see their Starbucks membership card to scan.

Mobile wallets are certainly a hot topic right now, if only in theory as opposed to actual use -- at least in he U.S. While other parts of the world have more readily embraced the mobile wallet, it has gained little traction so far domestically.

In the one year since Google Wallet was released, it's problems have been readily noted. Isis, the mobile payments venture formed by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, is scheduled to debut this summer in select U.S. markets, and it's anyone's guess how well it will be received.

Still, many now-popular technologies weren't immediate successes. Mobile banking has grown significantly since it first appeared on the scene a few years ago, as concerns about security have lessened. Some even predicted the mighty iPhone would be a flop at the time of its release. The likes of Google, Apple and Isis may not be setting the world afire with mobile wallet offerings now, but several years down the road many companies might look back and wished they invested in these technologies sooner.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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