Less than half a year into Apple Pay’s lifespan, the company has already filed a patent for Apple Pay 2.0 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The new version will expand Apple Pay’s list of functions to include coupon redemption, loyalty, and ticketing functionality, but the most significant development will be the addition of a low-power enabled NFC feature for payments.
The reason for the Lower NFC Power Mode feature is meant to help users who depend on Apple Pay gain access to payment information even when their iOS devices drop below a certain battery level. Currently, in an effort to preserve battery power, some features of Apple Pay shut off once battery life drops below a certain point. Existing apps that would run in the background of the payment feature (and would drain battery life in other ways) would be turned off while the low power NFC mode runs as a replacement for the NFC-less way to conserve battery life. With this new feature, NFC functionality can be restored through user requests, as well as general management of the NFC beacon that enables payments, according to Patently Apple‘s analysis of the company’s patent application.
User authentication would likely still be required for the new low-power mode at least initially, according to the patent, so that there is enough “appropriate” security and accessibility to the user and to the merchant. At first glance, this appears to be a way of making NFC more efficient in the face of competition from other forms of payment communication like Beacon technology in certain stores, as well as non-NFC payment methods like the rumored Google Plaso that uses consumer initials for confirmation, or Samsung Pay that uses LoopPay technology that runs similar to card swiping at POS terminals.