Apple’s Passbook Strategy: How LTE Patents Could Jeopardize iPhone 5 Business?

iPhone 5 launched

Today is an important day for Apple enthusiasts because the company is going to unveil long-awaited iPhone 5. There has been a linger discussion over iPhone’s leaked components and images since last couple of months. At present, Apple is also looking to beat Samsung in terms of smartphone shipments by launching overhauled iPhone 5. The upcoming smartphone is expected to have slimmer design and larger scree size than original iPhone; besides it will support LTE networks.

Apple’s new smartphone will be powered by latest iOS 6 OS and it will have an improved voice-activated assistant Siri, a new call blocking feature and new digital-coupon-and-passes services (Passbook).

Passbook is one of the most excited features of Apple’s upcoming iPhone–an app that will hold digital coupons, loyalty card and tickets in one place. Definitely, Apple has endeavored to provide a digital wallet service on iPhone 5. The attempt is more likely to revolutionize the concept of wallet service. However, the new iPhone has numbers of features such as deep integration of Facebook and Yelp, and Apple mapping app.

Indeed, I appreciate Apple to bring cards, coupons, and cash at one spot by introducing Passbook concept. There has been a deliberation for turning phones into the digital wallets since the last couple of years, so that mobile user could access internet, pay and makes calls for ‘cafe lattes and pancakes’. Lots of players like Visa, Starbucks, Square, MasterCard, PayPal and Google are saddling their affords to make mobile payment a way of life.

Apple might try to persuade retailers to modernize their payment equipment using iPhone’s Passbook concept. Just a month before, a study projected that Apple could ship over 250 million iPhone 5 by the end of 2013. In addition to these, user can also scan iPhone, iPad and iPod using Passbook to check flight, get into a movie and pay out a coupon. Anyway, Apple is trying to entice retailers and businesses to own iPhone 5.

However, it’s speculated that Apple’s new iPhone will not have near-field communication chip (NFC)–now, it’s trending due to ease in mobile payment, let user to swipe and pay at cash register.  There’s also a talk of new iPhone’s larger screen size and LTE compatibility. I think users are more likely to have “Near Field communications” (NFC).  I’m not interested at all to discuss about larger screen, smaller connectors and slimmer design of Apple’s new iPhone, but I would like NFC in mobile devices. At present, Android handsets including Samsung Galaxy SIII and HTC One X already have NFC. On the other side, Nokia’s upcoming Lumia 920 smartphone will also have NFC with Wallet features –that will let users’ phone to act as a credit card or a loyal card.

Users might have afraid with a bigger screen on a faster LTE mobile broadband could suck battery life of iPhone 5. But, Apple has always been precautious about their battery life. Despite of using LTE technology and larger screen, it would have definitely looked for an alternative solution. iPhone has already Gorilla glass, but I would prefer to have scratch-proof glass as it’s in Motorola Defy, which could withstand rough scratches and some serious jostles. I’m little bit apprehend with Apple that it won’t embrace NFC due to stereotype attitude.

A Patent War To Begin

Now, it’s pretty clear that Apple’s new iPhone will support faster LTE networks. At present, both Samsung and HTC are on the losing side due to Apple’s recent victory over them. Samsung and HTC could leverage over their LTE patents portfolio and they could file lawsuit against Apple for infringing their patents.  Motorola, owned by Google, has also a sequence of patents related to LTE technology.

However, Apple could access 400 LTE-related patents that it carried from Nortel, RIM, EMC, Sony, Microsoft and Ericsson. On the contrast, Samsung has reportedly 800 patents related to LTE technology, while LG is the biggest LTE patent holders. As Apple is threatening to other tech-companies using its patent portfolio, it should be prepared to defend itself.

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