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Apple's New Patent Might Suggest Mobile Payment Focus

Apple's New Patent Might Suggest Mobile Payment Focus

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed a patent for a "mobile-based payment confirmation" system that reportedly confirms the company plans to give iPhone users an NFC-based payment scheme.

According to the official filing, the patent could lead to a setup in which "an electronic device may include a graphical user interface (GUI) with one or more graphical elements that may be moved by a user to confirm or decline a payment transaction using a selected payment instrument."

"For example, a user may drag the graphical element to a confirmation position via a touch screen of the electronic device," the patent document explains. "In another example, a motion sensing device, such as an accelerometer, may sense movement of the electronic device and move the graphical element in response to the motion. Upon confirmation, payment information for the payment transaction may be transmitted to a merchant or payment recipient. Various additional methods, machine-readable media, and devices for confirming payment transactions are provided."

While the patent became public today, it was originally filed on January 9, 2009 -- giving Apple plenty of time to implement the technology in the iPhone 5.

Still, it is wholly possible that this patent has nothing to do with an actual product. It could simply be one of Apple's many litigation-inspired patents that the company files to defend itself against potential lawsuits.

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