Next Thursday’s Apple event is widely believed to be the place that will announce two new iPads and, if we’re really lucky, a new Retina iMac. Hardware aside though, it looks increasingly likely that the following weekend will be when Apple Pay goes live.

Apple’s new NFC and Touch ID-based mobile payment system is currently being baked into the latest betas of iOS 8.1, and with the smart money being on that being released next week other rumors are now tying the Apple Pay launch in with a similar timescale. A recently leaked internal memo at drug store Walgreens has already pegged the Apple Pay system going live on Saturday the 18th of October, and now news – courtesy 9to5Mac – is coming out of Apple’s own retail stores that it is now briefing its own teams on how to process Apple Pay purchases.

Apple Pay

Leaked screenshots and photographs of the mandatory 1-hour training session that Apple Store employees are currently undertaking shows the same iOS setup screens that we have already been party to thanks to developer Hamza Sood. Payments will be handled by what appears to be iPad-based POS, and issues with Apple Pay will apparently be handled by the store’s retail employees rather than Geniuses – non-hardware issues will apparently be referred to the user’s card issuer in the first instance, which presumably means Apple has the utmost confidence in its own back-end systems.

Given recent iCloud and MobileMe shennanigans, we’re not so sure we would agree.

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Image credit: 9to5Mac

Apple has apparently been testing Apple Pay in its own on-campus Caffe’ Macs establishment at 1 Infinite Loop, presumably with no ill-effects. Hopefully a busy shopping Saturday won’t be ruined by software glitches.

If Apple Pay does indeed go live next weekend it makes for a busy few days for Apple. New iPads, new Macs and a whole new payment system are potentially on the cards at this point, though it’s expected that iPads at least would not ship for at least a week.

It does look increasingly like you’ll be able to buy your next Apple tablet using your iPhone, though.

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