In what will likely be regarded as one small step for Apple’s payments ambitions, and one giant leap for Apple rumor mongers everywhere, the high-concept tech firm has launched an iTunes-backed payments system — in Japan.
The company has launched a mobile payment system based on the iOS 7’s Passbook app. Japanese users can now use it to pay for apps through its iTunes-based App Store and for products in its physical Apple Stores, according to MacObserver.
The mobile payments system is called iTunes Pass. This is different and not to be confused with the iTunes Pass service that allows Apple Music customers pay for content from specific musical artists. The new Apple payments system works like a reloadable card, or like the Starbucks app, by allowing users to load funds and then purchase goods—the model is essentially gift card-based.
The system is only available in Apple Stores (or app stores) in Japan. However, given the years of rampant speculation, some observers believe this program is the pilot for the launch of a wide scale, and widely applicable, Apple payments solution.
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