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Apple iWallet Expected, But PayPal Has Big News of Its Own

Up until today, the term “charge it” in relation to Apple products has referred to the devices’ batteries. But with the expected launch of an iWallet on Tuesday, it takes on a whole new meaning for mobile shoppers.

A week ago we noted the two new features rumored to be included in iOS 8 and the next-generation iPhone that could impact ecommerce and online payments:

  • A mobile wallet and possibly an NFC chip for online payments;
  • Interactive notifications. (“Transactions could be made with a simple swipe of a finger to a notification,” according to Demandware’s Rob Garf.)

But many are wondering how an Apple iWallet could impact PayPal. Wall Street analyst Colin Sebastian of Robert W. Baird noted in a new report that its data pointed to “ongoing sluggish trends in the Marketplace,” and said the iPhone/iWallet announcements could provide a catalyst for the eBay stock. “Looking ahead, Tuesday’s (likely) unveiling of the iPhone 6 could provide a boost for eBay if PayPal is included as part of any potential iWallet initiative. On the other hand, a broad Apple payment service including e-commerce and excluding PayPal would likely serve as a negative catalyst.”

Not surprisingly, PayPal has been mum about any possible involvement in an Apple iWallet. But the day before the big Apple announcement, PayPal’s Chief Product Officer Hill Ferguson took to the company blog to announce the general availability of the previously announced One Touch feature that eliminates the need for mobile users to enter their username and password when making a transaction.

He also pointed to news that PayPal unit Braintree would soon allow developers to accept Bitcoin payments.

“We believe in customer choice – choice in terms of the device they want to pay on, the OS they prefer to use, and even the payment method they want to pay with. With Braintree’s new partnership with Coinbase, merchants and developers that have integrated with Braintree’s v.zero SDK will be able to easily begin accepting bitcoin in the coming months, enabling their customers to pay with the alternative currency across their favorite apps.”

For those who wish to feel a part of Apple’s big news, there’s a page where Apple promises to webcast live video from its launch event (September 9 at 10 a.m. PDT). A countdown clock displays how many hours are left until the denouement.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.