Here Comes the First iPhone Wallet

Man uses an Apple iPhone in Tokyo, Japan on July 16, 2014

Source: Atsushi Tomura/ Getty Images

Apple recently confirmed that it is holding a media event on Tuesday, September 9, via a typically cryptic invitation that offered no clue as to what may be in store. Despite the company’s usual lack of disclosure about its upcoming plans, it’s widely expected that Apple will be unveiling two new iPhone models and a wearable tech product at the event. While most of the buzz surrounding Apple’s next-generation devices has focused on the increase in screen size, there have been several rumors about other improvements implemented in the so-called “iPhone 6” models.

Besides including the usual hardware upgrades — such as faster processors — at least some of Apple’s iPhone 6 models are believed to feature a more scratch-resistant display material called sapphire. There have also been long-running rumors about the implementation of a new mobile payments system that would turn the iPhone into a digital wallet. In January of this year, The Wall Street Journal cited insider sources who reported that Apple executives were meeting with various industry leaders to discuss the establishment of a new mobile payments service. More recently, a report from BrightWire in May claimed that the iPhone 6 would include a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip that would allow users to make wireless payments.

Now, with the debut of the next-generation iPhone models less than two weeks away, a new report from the Financial Times appears to offer further evidence that Apple’s new devices will indeed mark the company’s entry into the burgeoning digital wallet market. According to “people familiar with Apple’s plans” cited by the Financial Times, Apple has enlisted Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors to provide an NFC chip for the iPhone that would allow it to be used as a wireless payment method. NXP Semiconductors is a known Apple supplier with nine separate facilities on the Cupertino-based company’s 2014 supplier list.