Following a string of related patents, Apple has hired Benjamin Vigier, an expert in the area of near-field communications (NFC) - the kind of technology that allows you to wave your credit card over a reader instead of swiping it.
NFC encompasses any short range, wireless interaction between devices - whether buying a ticket at the airport or scanning an RFID-enabled poster for more information about a concert. Vigier has been working on contactless payment applications since 2004 and helped develop mobile wallet services for PayPal and Starbucks, among others.
The move suggests that Apple is looking to take their recent NFC patents off paper and into your pocket - allowing for potential conveniences like iTunes-based mobile payments and simplified device syncing. When and what Apple will turn into a reality with Vigier's help remains, of course, up for speculation. [Near Field Communications World]