Apple will launch a "pilot program for merchant partnerships," according "multiple sources with knowledge of the program" cited by Bank Innovation. The financial industry magazine said the program could be a rewards program for shoppers tied to the mobile payment system the company is expected to launch during a media event on Tuesday, September 9th.
Bank Innovation also believes that iTunes accounts are a big part of whatever Apple is cooking up. If true, it means that Apple is looking to leverage the hundreds of millions of credit cards on file with customers who use iTunes to buy music, video, books, and apps on iTunes, iBooks, the App Store, and the Mac App Store.
Apple has actively advertised a job position for someone to, "develop digital and physical assets, programs and training materials to deploy across external partners in the U.S. and other regions" for iTunes. At the same time, the company has looked for someone outside of iTunes to, "develop partnerships and strategic alliances with external partners in the U.S. and other key regions."
These two data points back up the unnamed, yet multiple sources who spoke with Bank Innovation. At the same time, Apple is just now doing the hiring, calling into question when Apple will announce and/or launch the pilot program. Those sources said, however, that Apple planned to announce the program on Tuesday.