For the longest time, Google Wallet the app was inextricable from its use as a mobile payment system. That is, if you didn’t have a phone with the proper NFC and secure element support, you weren’t using Google Wallet, period. A couple days ago, however, we saw Google release a new version of its Android app that no longer made NFC payments a requirement for Wallet usage, and made it available to Android users with all manner of phones. While they can’t pay for things in-store with Wallet, they can still use it to manage loyalty cards and to directly send money to peers. Now Google seems to be taking the next logical step, releasing Google Wallet for iOS for the very first time.
Functionality-wise, it’s just like the Android version on a phone lacking NFC payment abilities. That means the loyalty card and fund transfer stuff we just mentioned, as well as the ability to save offers from merchants to take advantage of later.
The app supports both iPhones and iPads, so long as they’re running iOS 6 or later. Now we’re just curious to see if this is going to have any of an impact on the iOS community; taking full advantage of the features is going to require being tied in to Google’s ecosystem, and die-hard iOSers might just think that Google’s tying to do an end-run on Apple and its Passbook.