While rumors have been swirling for months that Apple was going to strap NFC (near field communications) to the iTunes cash register and boldly take iPhone 5 into the mobile payments future, Google is already there with the announcement last week of Google Wallet.
Teaming up with MasterCard, Sprint and Citi -- and using MasterCard's PayPass system -- Google Wallet is being put into beta mode starting in San Francisco and is scheduled for full launch later this summer.
But is it safe to turn your mobile device into money machine?
If the phone's screen is turned off, NFC is turned off. And NFC also is inactive until the Google Wallet App is launched. It's got a tamper sensor as well, and will withstand laser attacks. Really. Google said so.
Apparently, even fricken sharks with fricken laser beams. They kid us not!
I very much like the idea of ditching my cards and simply using my iPhone to pay as I go. Will Apple announce the same type of service at WWDC 2011 or at their annual fall event later this year? They could want to enter the race and make iTunes the next great payment system, or they could decide to wait until NFC-equipped point-of-sales are more mainstream.
My question to you -- do you want it?