Apple To Payments To Patents. Can You Follow The Trail?

“If only Apple weren’t so secretive, if only we knew what their intentions were toward mobile commerce,” said every payments player everywhere at some point ever. Bad news: the team at PYMNTS cannot read Apple’s mind. Good news: PYMNTS can do the next best thing–read patents. Five years’ worth of payments or commerce patents Apple has been granted to be exact, and there are some interesting insights to be had. Check it out!

The payments industry is on pins and needles with respect to Apple’s plans for mobile payments. Each day, another story surfaces about its intent, the experience and who’s partnering with them to make it real. Clues abound and many breadcrumbs have been dropped, but there are only a very few people who truly know what’s in store.

One very healthy trail of breadcrumbs is the megastore of patents that Apple has filed over the years. Now companies file patents all of the time for many different reasons – and they don’t always turn out to be strong signals about their product or market intentions. But it sure makes for some interesting speculation. One particularly robust source of information on Apple’s patents is PatentlyApple, which has curated a massive library of patents on a variety of areas.

We decided to search this site and assemble the 37 patents that Apple has filed – and been granted – over the last five years that have anything to do with payments or commerce. With total and complete attribution to Patently Apple, we have provided our own short summary of each patent, and included some of the relevant patent diagrams from the site so that you can take a look at what was on the mind of the Apple inventor at the time.

So while it won’t be too much longer before we all know what Apple has in store, and which of these, if any, are a part of the mobile payments approach that it will bring to market, this might satisfy your Apple info craving for at least a little while.

Note:  All diagrams are sourced and taken directly from PatentlyApple.


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The PYMNTS Cross-Border Merchant Friction Index analyzes the key friction points experienced by consumers browsing, shopping and paying for purchases on international eCommerce sites. PYMNTS examined the checkout processes of 266 B2B and B2C eCommerce sites across 12 industries and operating from locations across Europe and the United States to provide a comprehensive overview of their checkout offerings.

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