Accessories Maker to Offer iPhone Case for Isis Wallet
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – U.S.-based mobile device accessories maker Incipio plans to make its iPhone 4 and 4S contactless case designed for use with the Isis Mobile Wallet available in the first quarter, the company told NFC Times. That depends on certification, however.
The Incipio cases work with microSD cards from U.S.-based DeviceFidelity, DeviceFidelity CEO Deepak Jain confirmed to NFC Times.
DeviceFidelity supplies its own cases for use with its cards, and the Incipio case is seen as offering an alternative design. DeviceFidelity's microSDs are certified to carry such payment applications as MasterCard PayPass and to work together with DeviceFidelity's iPhone sleeve.
The timing of the introduction of the case from Incipio depends on certification by Isis and one or more payment schemes, such as MasterCard or Visa, according to Aleksander Amagasaki, senior program manager at Incipio. It also has not apparently been approved by Apple yet.
“We haven’t got a clear schedule of when it will take place,” Amagasaki told NFC Times, when asked about the exact release date for the mobile-wallet case, which it calls Cashwrap. He predicted the release would happen in the first quarter. Incipio introduced the case this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev.
U.S. mobile operators Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA, which own the joint venture behind Isis, have introduced about 20 NFC-enabled smartphones for Isis’ two-city trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, launched in October.
Isis said in September of 2011 that besides major smartphone makers, it was also working with DeviceFidelity to offer NFC functionality to phones not enabled with NFC. This mainly refers to the iPhone.
But it remains unclear when the first iPhones will become available that can support the Isis wallet, using DeviceFidelity's cards and sleeves from this or other vendors. That could depend in part of when Apple approves the Isis wallet app. The first case that will make it into stores supporting the Isis wallet will be the iCaisse4X from DeviceFidelity, said Jain. This product supports full NFC, including tag reading and peer-to-peer modes.
Amagasaki said Incipio’s first case for Isis would support only the 4 and 4S, and he could not say when the vendor would have a Cashwrap case available for the iPhone 5. The case is expected to retail at $60 to $70. T-Mobile USA does not yet sell the iPhone, and when it does, planned for the second quarter, it is expected to sell the iPhone 5.
While Amagasaki declined to confirm that Incipio is working with DeviceFidelity microSDs for the Isis wallet, he did say he believed the Incipio cases would be more stylish than those iPhone mobile-wallet cases already on the market. That is an obvious reference to DeviceFidelity’s cases.
“They are very corporate and business-oriented,” he said. “They are very practical, but maybe not fashionable and appealing to a younger generation.”
Amagasaki said the Incipio Cashwrap case would come in a variety of colors following its initial launch.