Many have been speculating that Apple would include NFC payments with iPhone 5, but at their iOS 6 event, Apple instead rolled out a feature called Passbook. Passbook lets you keep loyalty cards, tickets, and coupons in one app.
However, it is not a full payment system. And according to The Wall Street Journal, this was a deliberate decision by Apple.
Holding back in mobile payments was a deliberate strategy, the result of deep discussion last year. Some Apple engineers argued for a more-aggressive approach that would integrate payments more directly.
But Apple executives chose the go-slow approach for now. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the decision-making process. Apple’s head of world-wide marketing, Phil Schiller, in an interview last month, said that digital-wallet mobile-payment services are “all fighting over their piece of the pie, and we aren’t doing that.”
They go on to explain a small team within Apple was investigating a new service to embed payment methods into the iPhone, or build a payment network. This would involve using current middleman solutions and taking a small cut of each transaction, or Apple acting as a bank. At the same time, the iPhone team had explored NFC options for the next iPhone, but there were concerns on battery life, security, vendor adoption, and customer satisfaction. In the end, Passbook was the compromise that Apple chose as they wait for the mobile payment market to evolve.