If you any doubts that Apple is taking mobile payments seriously, then maybe this recently-filed patent will alleviate them. We’ve known that the company wanted to allow iOS users to send money to each other through iMessage, but according to this patent, it wants them to be able to make payments as well, similar to what Asian messaging apps like WeChat have been doing for a while. It’s not just through texts either, the company wants iOS users to be able to make payments through emails and phone calls as well.
Evidence that Apple wants to combine payments and iMessage is piling up. And it looks like the tech giant doesn’t plan to stop there. A patent filing published earlier this month (Dec. 2015) indicates that Apple is not only looking at allowing people to send money over its text messaging service, but other services built into the iOS platform, including phone calls, email, and calendar invites. Last month, Quartz reported that people close to Apple said the tech giant was exploring adding payments to iMessage. Companies like Apple file patents that go unused all the time, but the application shows that Apple is paying attention to a key trend in the technology industry: the convergence of messaging and payments. Other major tech firms are looking to integrate payment features inside messaging apps. Facebook Messenger added the ability for users to pay their friends earlier this year, and recently added the ability to order a ride from Uber within the app. This kind of functionality is already common in Asia, where apps like WeChat—which has 650 million monthly users—let users buy food, order taxis, pay bills, check bank statements, and more.
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