A U.S. Patent application that Apple filed in late May was published Thursday (Oct. 9) and it provides some delightfully geeky peeks into what appears to be Apple Pay—or at least how Apple Pay was envisioned a few months before launch.
For example, the filing details how Apple Pay would function if a transaction didn’t go through and the shopper had stepped away and, therefore, moved out of NFC range.
“If the link establishment operations are unsuccessful, processing may proceed” as Apple Pay “may automatically reconfigure one or more hardware parameters on device (e.g., by reconfiguring device according to a table of settings). Field detector may then be used to detect if device has been moved out of the NFC reader field. If device has been moved out of the field, processing may loop back,” the Patent filing said. “If device is still within the reader field, processing may loop back for another transaction attempt with new operating settings. If desired, the near field communications circuitry may be reset to the default settings if receiver has been idle for a predetermined period of time (e.g., if the NFC receiver has been idle for more than 5 seconds or for more than 10 seconds). Alternatively, if some of the data packets fail to transmit, device may automatically reconfigure one or more hardware parameters on device and proceed to retransmit any missing packets or to retransmit all the packets.”
The Patent application also said that a failed transaction can be retried by changing a single setting.
“In response to detecting that a mobile payment transaction has failed at the merchant terminal, the user device may be reconfigured using at least one new hardware control setting before attempting another payment transaction at the merchant terminal,” the filing said. “The user device may be reconfigured to perform a subsequent payment using a new transmit power control setting, using a new phase offset setting, use a new wakeup threshold setting (e.g., a setting that determines the maximum distance that the electronic device needs to be held from the merchant terminal in order for the electronic device to initiate the mobile payment transaction), using a new signal damping coefficient setting, using a new frame delay setting (e.g., a setting that sets forth a period of time that the user device needs to wait before sending an acknowledgement in response to receiving a request from the merchant terminal), etc. If desired, other types of hardware updates may be implemented.”
Then there’s the timing issue. “The user device may have to wait for the electronic device to be moved out of the field before starting a timer that sets forth a period of time within which the electronic device can be used to reattempt the transaction. If the electronic device has been moved back within the field prior to the timer expiring, the electronic device may be reconfigured with one or more new hardware settings and another financial transaction is attempted. The new hardware settings for each attempt can be different and can be selected from a table of predetermined settings that is stored on the user device.”
If you want to know the ins and outs of Apple Pay’s workings, this document is a great place to start.