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Expectations for tomorrow’s Apple event are high, as many believe we’ll see not only the new, feature-laden iPhone 6, but that we’ll finally get to feast our eyes on the long-awaited iWatch. As the event approaches, however, new reports seem to indicate that a major part of Apple’s iWatch strategy will include NFC technology for two-step authentication payments.

We heard at the end of August that Apple was teaming up with American Express – among other credit card companies – to give users the ability to easily pay for goods and services via near-field communication, or NFC, on the iPhone 6. A post on TechCrunch over the weekend goes a step further, speculating that the iWatch might play an integral role in this plan to provide two-step authentication for iPhone-enabled payments. In this scenario, a user would only be able to use an iPhone’s pay system after approving each purchase on a connected iWatch.

“Apple’s answer to why we need the iWatch may not be what it can do that your iPhone can’t,” says the post, “but what they can do together.”

Over on BankInnovation, a post reports that the payment service will utilize “tokenization,” a process that allows for one-time, over-the-air sales that are more secure than running the same credit card over and over. Here’s the post’s explanation of how tokenization works:

“Financial institutions — card issuers and networks — prefer token technology because it replaces primary account numbers, those 16-digit card numbers on the front of credit and debit cards. Instead, the tokenization technology uses complex codes that are easily transmittable over the air and between devices, but that are used only once, so even if they are intercepted, are of no use to fraudsters.”

Apple isn’t the kind of company to simply release a product simply because it can. Usually there’s a broader strategy at work; the iPad came about because users had a desire to enjoy all the games, media, and consumption options they experienced on their iPhones on a larger scale. While Android Wear seems cool, many critics have said that Android Wear devices still have yet to prove their worth as extensions of the Android operating system.

If Apple’s iWatch creates an easy way to change the way we can live our lives – and fast, secure purchasing out in the world might very well fit that bill – wearable tech might just fulfill the promise that so many OEMs see in it. Despite the recent security concerns regarding iCloud, Apple still has the kind of clout necessary to convince its customers that their payment information is safe with them.

Meanwhile, images purported to show CAD drawings of the iWatch’s components have spilled online, reposted by 9to5Mac after they initially made their way online via Reddit. The leaker says that the iWatch will feature a microphone, speaker, Siri connectivity, and a “flexible, multi-touch screen [that] will add a new dimension to the UI.” We’ll know for sure whether or not the iWatch fits that description tomorrow – if it actually shows up on stage at all.

[Sources: TechCrunch, BankInnovation, 9to5Mac]


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