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Todd Ablowitz, President of payments consultancy Double Diamond Group LLC, said, “Everyone is speculating, watching the tea leaves on Apple right now. And they’re in a tremendous position to do something disruptive in payments.”

Ablowitz based his opinion on the synergy generated between Apple’s built-in customer base of approximately 160 million iTunes account holders (who have registered credit cards with the accounts) and Apple’s mobile devices that would be used to access those accounts to conduct NFC payments at the POS – a payments ecosystem controlled by Apple.

But Ablowitz is not so sure. “Apple’s not stupid,” he said. “I wouldn’t put it past them going down any path,” including manufacturing its own readers. “News flash: Apple’s a hardware company,” he said. “If they want to make a reader, they can make a reader.”

Ablowitz pointed out Apple understands “the taxonomy of the point of sale,” since Apple is a retailer itself through its Apple Stores, 300 of which exist worldwide, according to the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company.

However, Ablowitz guessed that Apple would want to somehow take advantage of existing POS systems, if for nothing else but speed of adoption. “For payments you want ubiquity,” he said. “The last thing they need is for it to take five years to get rolling. They need to get it rolling much more quickly.”

The Green Sheet, February 4, 2011