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Apple Plans Fingerprint Based Mobile Payments; May Do Physical Goods

It looks like Apple is considering an expanded mobile payments strategy for its capacitive fingerprint sensor Touch ID, which was introduced last September as a feature on the iPhone 5s. The sensor currently allows users to scan their fingerprints to authenticate purchases from iTunes store, App Store and iBooks Store among others. Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company's earnings conference call earlier in the day, that mobile payments is an area that they've "been intrigued with and was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID." While he declined to disclose any specific information on this, he said "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". This statement follows a source-based The Wall Street Journal report from last week which had suggested that Apple was laying groundwork for an expanded mobile payment service which includes facilitating payments of physical goods and services from its devices. Jennifer Bailey, VP (Online Stores) at Apple is apparently heading this business. Earlier this month, Apple had also filed a patent for a touchless e-wallet, wherein it had detailed a method to establish a wireless and secure connection between a purchasing device to a point of sale device and then connecting to the back end to conduct a secure commercial transaction, as pointed out by an AppleInsider report. If and when Apple launches its mobile payment service through Touch ID, it will be interesting to see how the service will affect other mobile…

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