Saturday, February 23, 2008

Apple has filed a iPhone Wireless payment patent

Apple files iPhone wireless buying patent

Apple has filed a new patent for a wireless transaction system that looks like it will be used in the iPhone and allow users to order products and pay for them instantly. Apple's patent details their merchant-client wireless system which will work with cellular, WiFi, WiMAX or Bluetooth networks. Among the areas covered by the patent are the ability to access restaurant menus on the go. The system would allow merchants to be able to push their new ads to devices that are tuned into this new web service, and hence would require local merchants to be on board with the initiative. The system also includes a mechanism for for merchants to report a stolen iPod/iPhone if the owner has properly reported that information to Apple in a timely manner. Apple states that in some cases "whenever a wireless media player comes within range of the wireless data network, the wireless media player can be (unbeknownst to the user) directed to send a wireless media player identifier that uniquely identifies the particular wireless media player to the wireless data network. The wireless media player identifier can be used to track lost or stolen media players when the rightful owner has placed the wireless media player identifier in a central database of lost or stolen media players. In this way, if a lost or stolen media player is tracked, any number of subsequent actions can be taken such as notifying the authorities, disabling the wireless media player, displaying a notice to return the wireless media player, etc. thereby providing a strong disincentive for stealing the player."

In one example a user instruction directs the wireless media player to open a graphical user interface (GUI) on a display that includes a list of items previously purchased from the merchant stored in the memory. However, in some cases it may be desirable to store customer information (such as the list of previously purchased items) on either or both the local server or the central server. In this way, even in those cases where a user purchases a new item or is using a different media player than would otherwise be used that does not have a current, or accurate, customer preference file for that particular user, the local server or remote server can be used to update, or synchronize, the local memory.

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