Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
iWallet: When Apple (AAPL) unveils its next generation iPhone later this year, the new smartphone may include a mobile payment system, BrightWire reports. According to the report, the iPhone 6 will contain Near Field Communication (NFC) technology permitting users to pay for items with their handset. Apple has reportedly concluded an agreement with China UnionPay under which China UnionPay customers would be able to make mobile payments at point-of-sale “QuickPass” terminals in China. Recent rumors indicate that Apple is working to develop a mobile payment system based around iTunes. The addition of the TouchID fingerprint sensor to the iPhone 5s was widely seen as anticipatory of the eventual launch of a mobile payment system, which would be secured by fingerprint scans to confirm user identify. Apple is expected to launch two iPhone 6 models this year, with a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 expected to debut in either August or September, and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 model to follow.
Teambuilding: Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Beats Electronics co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will “likely take senior positions” at Apple after the iPhone-maker acquires their company. Word of the $3.2 billion deal to buy Beats emerged last week. Reports indicate that an official announcement of the merger could come soon. If the acquisition is finalized, Iovine will step down as chairman of Vivendi’s Interscope Geffan A&M records. Vivendi holds a 14% stake in Beats. In a post on Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, Dr. Dre — who rose to fame as the frontman for the controversial rap group N.W.A. — said that the Beats deal would make him “the first billionaire in hip-hop.” In a new research note, Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster says that, with the acquisition of Beats, Apple is paying a “steep price” just to add Iovine, who has a reputation as an innovative executive, to its team. Munster notes that the Beats brand “doesn’t appear to offer anything to Apple aside from a brand,” suggesting that Apple may be after Beats’ talent.
Quicker: People who purchase items through Apple’s website, but later return the products, have seen the time it takes for Apple to refund their money cut in half, Reuters notes. In order to slash refund wait times, Apple has turned to FedEx’s (FDX) 2 Day shipping service, accelerating the speed with which shoppers can return items to Apple’s warehouses. Improving return speeds also raises Apple’s costs. However, Apple clearly hopes the higher costs will be offset by attracting more online shoppers with better service. Sources tell Reuters that customers are not paying more for the faster return service. A recent report noted that Apple has surpassed office supply chain Staples (SPLS) to become the second-largest online retailer, but remains well behind Amazon (AMZN). Improving refund processing times could help attract gadget buyers away from Amazon and Best Buy (BBY).
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.