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Report: Apple testing RFID swipe support in iPhone prototypes

post #1 of 55
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A site focused on Near Field Communications has reported that Apple has built new iPhone prototypes with hardware support for sensing RFID chips.

RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification) is a technology that allows a device to sense embedded chips in nearby objects without making direct contact or without using visible light like a barcode reader. Apple has already filed patents related to a mobile "ID App" capable of using an RFID sensor, a way to use RFID to sense and connect to available WiFi networks, and a touchscreen RFID tag reader.

New RFID support in future iPhones could enable a variety of "touchless" technologies, ranging from swipe payments (where users could pay for items at a checkout, vending machine, or toll booth by swiping their phone near a payment pad), to swipe sensing of information kiosks, objects, or even animals.

Very little data needs to be transmitted between the RFID chip and the device to do useful things; a payment would only need to present the user's account number. A kiosk could simply transmit a URL to allow users to swipe their phone to open up a web page about the local area, with transit information and maps or details on items in a museum display.

The cost of RFID chips is now down to just a few cents each in quantity, making it possible to apply them to a wide variety of uses. Shipping companies and retailers already use RFIDs to track packages much like barcodes; libraries use them to track books, farmers use them to identify animals in herds, and the army, theme parks and schools attach RFIDs to people.

RDIF in mobile applications

In Japan, QR Code barcodes have long been a popular way to obtain information about an object using a cellphone with a barcode reader or camera that can read them. Mobile phones and credit cards with RFID swipe features (like Sony's FeliCA) have also been in use for years in Asia and Europe, and are just recently entering the US.

Apple could leverage its micropayment system in iTunes, which already has a hundred million users' accounts with credit cards in 23 countries, to set up a payment system tied into the iPhone and iPod touch. However, simply offering a way to read RFID tags would open up the device to a variety of industrial applications where swipe sensing could be used to track inventory and discover items in the area.

Adding support for an RFID reader is apparently easy and cost effective, and can be built right into the screen according to a recent Apple patent, which stated:

"The efficient incorporation of RFID circuitry within touch sensor panel circuitry is disclosed. The RFID antenna can be placed in the touch sensor panel, such that the touch sensor panel can now additionally function as an RFID transponder. No separate space-consuming RFID antenna is necessary. Loops (single or multiple) forming the loop antenna of the RFID circuit (for either reader or tag applications) can be formed from metal on the same layer as metal traces formed in the borders of a substrate. Forming loops from metal on the same layer as the metal traces are advantageous in that the loops can be formed during the same processing step as the metal traces, without requiring a separate metal layer."

iPhone 3.0 already supports local discovery and networking setup via Bluetooth on all iPhone models, but Bluetooth devices are too expensive to embed in lots of devices that could use cheap RFID chips.
post #2 of 55
Another sensor? These phones are becoming tricorders. If they could just detect M-class planets they would have everything.
post #3 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystigo View Post

Another sensor? These phones are becoming tricorders. If they could just detect M-class planets they would have everything.

Or "fire off" any one of sensor probes!

http://www.gammaone.org/index.php/Probes

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post #4 of 55
any chance the new checkout devices (iPod touches) at Apple retail stores are the field tests for this new technology?
post #5 of 55
RFID is a little scary security wise, but I've been hoping this feature would help replace ID's and CC's. Obviously this is also a great feature for businesses for inventory tracking and electronic payments as well. It's be great to use with RFID business cards with the phone as well.

Obviously this is the arena where Apple wants to compete; with features other smart phones will less commonly have. Very "New World Order" but cool none the less.
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post #6 of 55
This would be great. We did something similar with our client's iPod Touch.
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post #7 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystigo View Post

Another sensor? These phones are becoming tricorders. If they could just detect M-class planets they would have everything.

I think were way past three functions with the iPhone. Your M-class planet comment made me spit up some soda. Thanks.
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post #8 of 55
They're trying to control my brain!!!
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post #9 of 55
Quote:
Very little data needs to be transmitted between the RFID chip and the device to do useful things; a payment would only need to present the user's account number.

Please, please, please... may people actually implementing things not be so simplistic. This is why a lot of nerds really hate RFID, as this is a complete lapse of security. For things like payments, you want some form of challenge/response at a minimum where you cryptographically sign the transaction rather than just giving away your account number...
post #10 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Please, please, please... may people actually implementing things not be so simplistic. This is why a lot of nerds really hate RFID, as this is a complete lapse of security. For things like payments, you want some form of challenge/response at a minimum where you cryptographically sign the transaction rather than just giving away your account number...

Agreed.
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post #11 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by rtdunham View Post

any chance the new checkout devices (iPod touches) at Apple retail stores are the field tests for this new technology?

No, totally different technology. The new checkout devices is just a card swiper connected to the iPod touch running POS software. They have nothing to do with RFID or NFC contactless payment.
post #12 of 55
Guys, guys.

Cellphone-based RFID and NFC contactless payment have been used in Japan for years. Just Google "Osaifu-Keitai."

Transit passes (bus, train, airplane). Loyalty/club cards. Shopping at convenience stores (think 7-11 or grocery stores). Sports and event ticket purchase/entry. Parking meter payment.

Please don't go stupidly paranoid. America is trying to catch up with Japan. We're about five years behind on this stuff just as our crappy cellular carriers are about five years behind theirs. We're turning into an embarrassment of industrialized nations by falling behind in this sort of stuff.
post #13 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Agreed.

Have to agree also! There are already do many RFID chips embedded in hundreds of consumer products that are sitting in everyone's homes.
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Guys, guys.

Cellphone-based RFID and NFC contactless payment have been used in Japan for years. Just Google "Osaifu-Keitai."

Transit passes (bus, train, airplane). Loyalty/club cards. Shopping at convenience stores (think 7-11 or grocery stores). Sports and event ticket purchase/entry. Parking meter payment.

Please don't go stupidly paranoid. America is trying to catch up with Japan. We're about five years behind on this stuff just as our crappy cellular carriers are about five years behind theirs. We're turning into an embarrassment of industrialized nations by falling behind in this sort of stuff.

And if you google a little further, you will find that nobody actually uses it in Japan. It's one of those useless statistics similar to how Nokia is the world's top smartphone producers --- most people have a N-series phone, not because they want to have a smartphone, they have a N-series phone because their carriers just gave it to them as a high-end feature phone.

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2007/02/1...netration-low/

Same thing with mobile phones with tv receivers --- there are no viable business models in Japan and Korea.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news...133_39561.html

The US is not a single day behind at all --- because all those projects never made financial sense in the first place and should have never deployed, period.
post #15 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

And if you google a little further, you will find that nobody actually uses it in Japan. It's one of those useless statistics similar to how Nokia is the world's top smartphone producers --- most people have a N-series phone, not because they want to have a smartphone, they have a N-series phone because their carriers just gave it to them as a high-end feature phone.

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2007/02/1...netration-low/

Same thing with mobile phones with tv receivers --- there are no viable business models in Japan and Korea.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news...133_39561.html

The US is not a single day behind at all --- because all those projects never made financial sense in the first place and should have never deployed, period.

************************************************** **********

I live in Japan, RFID w/ or wo/ keitai is VERY VERY widely used. Suica, Edy and others for conact-less payment.
As for mobile TV, not as ubiquitious as providers would have liked but this more due to cost and quality. I see several people daily on my train commute, especially in the evening. More if a big sporting event is on.

And the last point you are WRONG on is how behind the US. Infrastructure is. Across the board, be it telecomms, roads and bridges, electrical grid, health care, you name it, America beats its chest while the country crumbles
post #16 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Please, please, please... may people actually implementing things not be so simplistic. This is why a lot of nerds really hate RFID, as this is a complete lapse of security. For things like payments, you want some form of challenge/response at a minimum where you cryptographically sign the transaction rather than just giving away your account number...

Well a cryptographic signature is what your iPhone and/or config profile would do (like it does for email or any other sensitive transaction on your "computer" (the iPhone).
Even with absolutely no challenge/response at all you're still talking about a zillion times more security than a credit card.
post #17 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystigo View Post

Another sensor? These phones are becoming tricorders. If they could just detect M-class planets they would have everything.

If they could just detect point-of-sale transactions & automatically enter the data into financial apps (versus having to manually punch-in the data or attempt hit-and-miss receipt reading), THEN we would have everything.
post #18 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

No, totally different technology. The new checkout devices is just a card swiper connected to the iPod touch running POS software. They have nothing to do with RFID or NFC contactless payment.

Yes and the article sounds like complete BS. The bi-directional assumption sounds a bit far fetched. Each individual iPhone has its own RFID signature? I don't think so.

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post #19 of 55
Id personally like to see something like this implemented. Credit Cards, and their magnetic stripe technology are just getting ridiculous now. Here we are with cards that have our names and a 16 (or more) digit number on them that can be swiped for payment or other transaction. Okay, then make it a 64 digit number. I dont care. The point here is that an iPhone or an iPod Touch is a computer. Use the encryption for the transaction and make sure that the user has to unlock the screen and verify the amount to be paid by pressing an Accept Payment button.

We have all of these stores that give us these cards to swipe so that they dont scalp us on everything in order to monitor our buying patterns. Id rather have my phone handle all the transactions that the cards do and not have to carry around all of those cards. Make it easy, encrypt the hell out of it, and while youre at it, make sure that all the receipts are emailed rather than print them out.

Id also like the ability of giving my friend money when he needs it just by tapping our two phones together. I tell the phone that I want to give him $40 for gas because hes driving us all as the DD, and he shouldnt have to pay to fill his gas guzzler. There ought to be a way to do that with my phone.

If RFID is the technology that allows that to happen, so be it. If its Bluetooth, so be it. I dont really care what makes it happen. I just want to see the death of credit cards/debit cards/shopping cards. Its time to accept that our phones are computers and expect more from them.
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post #20 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by bar_none View Post

************************************************** **********

I live in Japan, RFID w/ or wo/ keitai is VERY VERY widely used. Suica, Edy and others for conact-less payment.

Hopefully the presence of this chip in the next gen iPhone gives this technology the kick-start it needs outside of Japan.
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post #21 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Please, please, please... may people actually implementing things not be so simplistic. This is why a lot of nerds really hate RFID, as this is a complete lapse of security. For things like payments, you want some form of challenge/response at a minimum where you cryptographically sign the transaction rather than just giving away your account number...

The only nerds who really hate RFID are the type of nerds who don't actually know anything -- these are the dungeons and dragons playing, HAM radio operating buffoons that make the rest of us look bad.

RFID has private key challenge-response security already. It is vastly more secure than your magstripe credit card. It is also standardized by ISO -- kind of a big deal.

http://www.nfc-forum.org/
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post #22 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think were way past three functions with the iPhone. Your M-class planet comment made me spit up some soda. Thanks.

It was pretty funny.

Any chance that we might one day see some syncing via wifi? Wouldn't this be much faster than the current USB setup?
post #23 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

It was pretty funny.

Any chance that we might one day see some syncing via wifi? Wouldn't this be much faster than the current USB setup?

I'm hoping for a light peak setup, it can do up to 10GB/s.
post #24 of 55
There are already simple barcode display applications on App Store, which work perfectly in european supermarkets without RFID at all.
There are also quite interesting barcode scanning applications (unstable).

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post #25 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystigo View Post

Another sensor? These phones are becoming tricorders. If they could just detect M-class planets they would have everything.

major tom would agree
i guess blood sugar testing is next
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post #26 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Please, please, please... may people actually implementing things not be so simplistic. This is why a lot of nerds really hate RFID, as this is a complete lapse of security. For things like payments, you want some form of challenge/response at a minimum where you cryptographically sign the transaction rather than just giving away your account number...

if you bother to re read the article it is already in use for yrs in asia
so i guess all the fire walls and such are already stream lined in the simplistic process.
i gather that they do a third party bank blind run like with pay pal > which is no one knows anyone else. nerds already know the data
offered is benign.
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post #27 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

There are already simple barcode display applications on App Store, which work perfectly in european supermarkets without RFID at all.
There are also quite interesting barcode scanning applications (unstable).

barcodes are over 40 yrs old
i wish someone would update it to the modern world
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post #28 of 55
I believe theStarbucks Mobile Card app is selectively testing this now. I don't live in the areas under test, but the app states that swiping your phone pays for your purchase.
post #29 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

Guys, guys.

Cellphone-based RFID and NFC contactless payment have been used in Japan for years. Just Google "Osaifu-Keitai."

Transit passes (bus, train, airplane). Loyalty/club cards. Shopping at convenience stores (think 7-11 or grocery stores). Sports and event ticket purchase/entry. Parking meter payment.

Please don't go stupidly paranoid. America is trying to catch up with Japan. We're about five years behind on this stuff just as our crappy cellular carriers are about five years behind theirs. We're turning into an embarrassment of industrialized nations by falling behind in this sort of stuff.

Excuse the name calling but you're a fool. I live in Japan and you're right. EVERYTHING is RFID. Even my new driver's license and ETC toll card. And yes it is convenient BUT it is also the most dangerous thing around. Very bad security and huge privacy issues. Soon all the alien registration cards [ARC] will also have RFID. The police could theoretically scan houses to find out who's a foreigner and I wouldn't put it passed them.

You also are probably unaware that the families who really control most of the world's governments also control Japan. Japan is not controlled by Japanese as you would think it would logically be. The people who are behind the world's largest corporations control Japan's corporations, America's corporations, Canada's corporations, Australia's corporations and so on. While certain technologies may have their origins in particular nations, the people behind the corporations are the same people who control America's Obama, Canada's Harper and Japan's Hatoyama etc. RFID serves the same purpose all around the world.

Ease of tracking and information acquisition.
post #30 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

barcodes are over 40 yrs old

They are still good enough to identify frequent buyer card holder and to credit his account.

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post #31 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yes and the article sounds like complete BS. The bi-directional assumption sounds a bit far fetched. Each individual iPhone has its own RFID signature? I don't think so.

Why don't you think each iPhone (and iPod touch) cannot have its own RFID signature?

IBM recently added an option to include a unique RFID tag in many of the products it sells. Including devices such as computer system as well as tape cartridges.

A simplified RFID tag contains a 96 digit "serial number" a standard RFID tag include 2 Kb of data.

96 digits is 1 times 10 to the 96 - there is somewhere near 7 billion people on the planet - or 1 times 10 to the 9 - which means even in the simplified tag system there are 1 times 10 to the 87 possible numbers - even if you reserve a few digits for things like check sum - that is still an awful lot of numbers.

In an IBM demo lab I have visited - they talked about not only having a unique RFID for any given type of product but also for individual instance of that product - for example take a prescription drug - you could have an RFID tag that not only identifies what the drug is but also when it was manufactured and when it expires etc.

More realistically you would not have a single numerical string but groups of data - kind of like a VIN number on a car these days - part of the "code" translates to the Manufacturer, part to the Make, the Model, the year, and part is the serial number for example.
post #32 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mansan View Post

I believe theStarbucks Mobile Card app is selectively testing this now. I don't live in the areas under test, but the app states that swiping your phone pays for your purchase.

Actually, when you click "Touch to Pay", the iPhone will display a barcode and the store will use their scanners to scan that barcode for payment.
post #33 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

They're trying to control my brain!!! ;]

Actually, that's not funny.

If our government announced tomorrow that they wanted 50 million people to line up for RFID implants, people would begin burning down government houses.

If Apple announced tomorrow that the next 50 million iPhones will carry RFIF chips, fanbois would begin licking themselves in excitement.

Makes me sick. I will NOT be buying one of these.
post #34 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Excuse the name calling but you're a fool. I live in Japan and you're right. EVERYTHING is RFID. Even my new driver's license and ETC toll card. And yes it is convenient BUT it is also the most dangerous thing around. Very bad security and huge privacy issues. Soon all the alien registration cards [ARC] will also have RFID. The police could theoretically scan houses to find out who's a foreigner and I wouldn't put it passed them.

Does anyone understand that this ^ is ENOUGH of a reason NOT to have any part of it!?!

Wake up!
post #35 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Actually, that's not funny.

If our government announced tomorrow that they wanted 50 million people to line up for RFID implants, people would begin burning down government houses.

If Apple announced tomorrow that the next 50 million iPhones will carry RFIF chips, fanbois would begin licking themselves in excitement.

Makes me sick. I will NOT be buying one of these.

Most of the RFID devices in use today require a proximity of a couple feet between the tag and the reader to work - yes there are some that work over a couple hundred feet but that may require direct line of sight etc.

Maybe this opens up a whole new market for small compact portable Faraday cages or other type of shielding to prevent unauthorized scanning of your RFID tag.
post #36 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

Most of the RFID devices in use today require a proximity of a couple feet between the tag and the reader to work - yes there are some that work over a couple hundred feet but that may require direct line of sight etc.

LOL whatever.
post #37 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Actually, that's not funny.

If our government announced tomorrow that they wanted 50 million people to line up for RFID implants, people would begin burning down government houses.

If Apple announced tomorrow that the next 50 million iPhones will carry RFIF chips, fanbois would begin licking themselves in excitement.

Makes me sick. I will NOT be buying one of these.

EXACTLY!

Unless the government can CREATE another 9/11 to somehow convince people that they need RFID implants to protect them from (domestic) terrorists, then the only other way to adopt it to the masses is to implement it as a "useful" feature in popular tech devices.

WAKE UP! We're already walking around with GPS tracking devices in our back pockets. They know who our friends and family are due to social networks. They disguise features as useful on a consumer level yet the real use is to track our every move. With Apple's face recognition software and GPS geo-tagging, if someone takes a picture of you and posts it, you'll not only be ID'd but pin-pointed as well.

Life is not science fiction. It's a lot scarier than that.
post #38 of 55
Wake up people! You do NOT want RFID! Be sure to watch Aaron Russo's movie: America: Freedom to Fascism to learn why you don't want RFID!
http://freedomtofascism.com

Also see:
http://spychips.com
post #39 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

No, totally different technology. The new checkout devices is just a card swiper connected to the iPod touch running POS software. They have nothing to do with RFID or NFC contactless payment.

Don't be so sure that this isn't related to Apple using the iPhone/iPod Touch as part of their retail environment -- This is a logical path for the checkout device to follow as you only need two things to happen to make the iPhone a complete (credit) POS solution with no additional hardware:

1) RFID tags on merchandise (no need for a barcode reader - makes the add-on device smaller)
2) RFID tags in credit card (already there in a lot of cards. If/when it's universal no need for a card reader)

The only people who need to go near the cashwrap are people paying by cash or people whose credit card doesn't already have an RFID chip in it...
post #40 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Actually, that's not funny.

If our government announced tomorrow that they wanted 50 million people to line up for RFID implants, people would begin burning down government houses.

If Apple announced tomorrow that the next 50 million iPhones will carry RFIF chips, fanbois would begin licking themselves in excitement.

Makes me sick. I will NOT be buying one of these.

You're crazy. security loopholes are one thing but conspiracy? I hate to tell you but your passport, driver license and auto registration already have RFID chips in them, along with many items you purchase off the shelves and packages shipped to your door. Don't be naive.
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