A Morgan Stanley analyst believes the company is developing a range of innovative online services, one of which could well be a true virtual wallet mobile payment system.
Up to now, most rumors surrounding what Apple has up its sleeve this year in terms of products have been focused on hardware -- iPads, iWatches and iPhones -- but according to Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty, the company could well make a surprise announcement at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference this June about a music streaming or mobile payments system.
"We believe Apple could charge either developers or users for some of these services, which could boost Apple's annuitized revenue stream and better monetize its large user base," Huberty wrote in a note to investors which has been seen by Apple Insider.
Analysts don't have the best track records when it comes to second-guessing Apple's next step, however, Huberty's musings are being taken seriously because they're based on a meeting she had with Apple's management. Usually, analysts come to their conclusions based on supply chain checks or interviews with suppliers and other hardware partners.
Rumors that Apple is about to launch a music streaming service have been widely reported, however this is the first time a mobile payment system has been touted. If this is the case, Apple would have a serious head start on most of its competitors thanks to its iTunes and App Stores and the millions of credit and debit card numbers it already holds through its customers' Apple IDs.