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Latest Apple hire could signal NFC capabilities in future iPhones

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
More evidence that Apple is interested in adding near-field communication technology to its future portable devices, allowing users to have their iPhone act as a wallet for transactions, has come in the form of a new hire.

As first noted by Near Field Communications World, Apple recently hired Benjamin Vigier, who has been working with NFC technology since 2004. Prior to landing a gig at Apple, his most recent role was project manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at mFoundry, a company that specializes in mobile payments.

He's taken on a similar role at Apple, where his official title is product manager of mobile commerce, according to Vigier's LinkedIn profile.

In more than two years at mFoundry, Vigier was responsible for a number of mobile payment projects, including Starbucks Card Mobile, Paypal Mobile, Sprint MyMoneyManager, mFoundry Mobile Banking and a NFC wallet for one of the top three banks in in the U.S. In an earlier stint at Sandisk, he was also involved in NFC and mobile commerce.

Though it has not yet found its way into any Apple products, the company's behind-the-scenes interest in NFC is nothing new, turning up in numerous patent applications filed by the companies. A more recent one from July described a system that would allow users to rely on NFC functionality in the iPhone to research products and quickly find helpful information, such as an instruction manual.

Last year, reports suggested that Apple had tested Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, in prototype iPhones. The technology allows a device to sense embedded chips in nearby objects without making direct contact or without using visible light, like a barcode reader.



Support for RFID or a number of other NFC technologies could allow a variety of "touchless" technologies, ranging from swipe payments where an iPhone could be used to pay for items at checkout, or sensing of information from kiosks and objects.

NFC World contacted Vigier in an effort to find out what his new role at Apple will entail, but he declined to comment.
post #2 of 18
Then the Apple store experience with be zipless.
post #3 of 18
I am all for the iPhone replacing other items in the pocket. Since it may never be fashionable for a man to carry a purse, we have no choice but to jam as much crap in our pockets as we can. Keys, wallet, phone, ipod, condoms, etc.

Now if we can get a prophylactic app, then we might truly have a convergence device.
post #4 of 18
NFC in iPhone 5, please!
"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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post #5 of 18
So Mr Jobs you think you can build Osaifu-Keitai. We await iPhone 5 with much interest.
post #6 of 18
Why only NFC...what about the AFC?! I want the Raiders on my iPhone too!
post #7 of 18
I get the impression that Apple is looking very closely at the kind of value added functionality which can help differentiate the platform from Android.

In this case, NFC capability only makes sense if you can marry the software to the hardware to broad network effects. Google has little incentive to add the software as long as there aren't any phones with NFC radios, handset makers have no call to add radios without the software, and developers won't bother with apps until there's some kind of general adoption at potential transaction sites (and yes, I'm talking about the US here).

It's the kind of classic chicken and egg dilemma that Apple is well positioned to address-- they can elect to make every phone they offer have the radio, a well integrated software stack, and use their clout to cut some high profile deals (Starbucks, say, or a big bank, and of course the Apple Stores themselves) to get the ball rolling.

Apple has a unique business model in the CE industry, with plusses and minuses. You can bet that there are some pretty bright people tasked with making the most the of the plusses. Google, of course, have their own plusses, but they tend to leverage the power of their services and servers-- which doesn't do you any good when you're interacting with the non-Google world. Of course, Google's answer to that is to simply acquire enough of the world so you never have to, but that's another discussion.
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post #8 of 18
With NFC or even with BlueTooth, the iPhone could eliminate a few things:
1. Credit and Debit cards, Toll cards
2. Open car door, enable or start engine, open garage door
3. Control security/alarm, remote viewing of the home security cameras (available)

The big hurdle is not the technology... it is the agreements with the OEMs, payment providers, etc.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

With NFC or even with BlueTooth, the iPhone could eliminate a few things:
1. Credit and Debit cards, Toll cards
2. Open car door, enable or start engine, open garage door
3. Control security/alarm, remote viewing of the home security cameras (available)

The big hurdle is not the technology... it is the agreements with the OEMs, payment providers, etc.

Isn't your second point already in effect?

In addition, a 4th point would be public transportation ticketing. They already have cards you can refill over the internet, and all you need to do is place it on turnstile and it deducts the fee.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjitMD View Post

With NFC or even with BlueTooth, the iPhone could eliminate a few things:
1. Credit and Debit cards, Toll cards
2. Open car door, enable or start engine, open garage door
3. Control security/alarm, remote viewing of the home security cameras (available)

The big hurdle is not the technology... it is the agreements with the OEMs, payment providers, etc.

To me, the biggest challenge will be security. There is no way I want my credit card or other personal info on my iPhone without absolute assurance no one can pilfer the info. Having it beamed out into the ether without such safeguards makes this technology a non-starter (for now). Show me it's truly secure for a long time before I stop carrying my credit cards with me.
post #11 of 18
Well add RFID/NFC Spy Chips, and my iPhone buying days are OVER.


Educate yourself folks -- you do NOT want this.
Read:
http://spychips.com

Watch this documentary movie free on Google Video:
http://freedomtofascism.com

post #12 of 18
Yes! I'm a new iPhone user with the iPhone 4, and this device has made so many other things redundant that two remaining things suddenly seem old fashioned: keys and wallet. I'd love to be able to walk to the coffeeshop and use the iPhone to lock the door behind me and pay for my drink when I get there. Very cool.

I'm considering something like this in the meantime: http://www.case-mate.com/iPhone-4-Ca...Card-Cases.asp
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

To me, the biggest challenge will be security. There is no way I want my credit card or other personal info on my iPhone without absolute assurance no one can pilfer the info. Having it beamed out into the ether without such safeguards makes this technology a non-starter (for now).

Well, there's no "absolute assurance" that your CC and other personal info will not be pilfered when you order stuff online, use a CC at a local merchant, or worst of all handing a CC to a waiter/waitress, who generally take it to another physical location where they are free to skim data.

That said, having RFID chips embedded in practically anything that follows you around is a bad idea. Including drivers license, passports, credit cards, clothing (yes, that's coming, voice your complaints to Walmart, and beware).

Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Well add RFID/NFC Spy Chips, and my iPhone buying days are OVER.

You certainly didn't need to get obnoxious and enormous-fonty, but I totally agree.

If Apple sticks an RFID in the next iPhone, count me out. It's bad enough that Apple can track your whereabouts via GPS, but having a wirelessly (and secretly) triggerable device embedded in a device that you'll carry with you almost 100% of the time, and which will potentially be mapped to your personal information, purchases, etc., etc. is completely unacceptable.

Think this is overreacting? Want to know how easy it is to steal this data out in the wild? Read/watch this:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/02/02/v...fid-passports/

Think they're secure? Listen to Adam Savage of MythBusters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X034R...ayer_embedded#!


Quote:
Originally Posted by arlomedia View Post

Yes! I'm a new iPhone user with the iPhone 4, and this device has made so many other things redundant that two remaining things suddenly seem old fashioned: keys and wallet. I'd love to be able to walk to the coffeeshop and use the iPhone to lock the door behind me and pay for my drink when I get there. Very cool.

This, on the other hand, is the kind of attitude that's beyond scary. For the "coolness factor" and a tiny bit of convenience, arlomedia is willing to give up both his privacy and his security.

Please, folks, use your brains a bit and read up on this stuff. It's not a joke, and it's not "cool". And spread the word before all the sheeple let this crap gets so embedded in our society that it can't be undone.
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post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

This, on the other hand, is the kind of attitude that's beyond scary. For the "coolness factor" and a tiny bit of convenience, arlomedia is willing to give up both his privacy and his security.

I don't mean cool in the sense of fashionable, I mean cool in the sense of a transformational new technology. I haven't given up anything yet because this technology isn't available yet. I assume its security implications will be addressed before it is mass marketed and I will check it out for myself at that time.

Meanwhile I still think this is a great concept and I'd like to see these initiatives move forward. It sounds like your criticisms are of a particular product or implementation, but I'm talking in theoretical terms and I don't see why a wireless house key or credit card couldn't be as secure as a wireless laptop or mobile browser (or looking at it another way, as secure as a metal house key and a plastic credit card).
post #15 of 18
You know, the FIRST job of any Federal official is not to keep us safe, it is to PRESERVE OUR LIBERTY -- with government having liberty-infringing RFID/NFC in items, they are violating their oaths of office! Learn more about this on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch on Fox Business Channel: http://freedomwatchonfox.com (streaming archived episodes here) Safety without liberty is not American and contradictory to The Constitution.

As for big companies, when they work in conjunction with big business, that is commonly known as fascism. Put the two together using RFID/NFC, and human liberty is in more danger than any other time in human history from tracking.

The best way to combat companies is simply stop shopping with them and do NOT buy their products containing spy chips.

Just say NO to the "New World Order"! Who the heck wants to be chipped like a dog?! A phone is the next closest thing! Wake up everyone...
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

You know, the FIRST job of any Federal official is not to keep us safe, it is to PRESERVE OUR LIBERTY -- with government having liberty-infringing RFID/NFC in items, they are violating their oaths of office! Learn more about this on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Freedom Watch on Fox Business Channel: http://freedomwatchonfox.com (streaming archived episodes here) Safety without liberty is not American and contradictory to The Constitution.

As for big companies, when they work in conjunction with big business, that is commonly known as fascism. Put the two together using RFID/NFC, and human liberty is in more danger than any other time in human history from tracking.

The best way to combat companies is simply stop shopping with them and do NOT buy their products containing spy chips.

Just say NO to the "New World Order"! Who the heck wants to be chipped like a dog?! A phone is the next closest thing! Wake up everyone...

Oh hi, the lunatic tea party forum is a little lower.....
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post

This, on the other hand, is the kind of attitude that's beyond scary. For the "coolness factor" and a tiny bit of convenience, arlomedia is willing to give up both his privacy and his security.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arlomedia View Post

I don't mean cool in the sense of fashionable, I mean cool in the sense of a transformational new technology. I haven't given up anything yet because this technology isn't available yet. I assume its security implications will be addressed before it is mass marketed and I will check it out for myself at that time.

Meanwhile I still think this is a great concept and I'd like to see these initiatives move forward. It sounds like your criticisms are of a particular product or implementation, but I'm talking in theoretical terms and I don't see why a wireless house key or credit card couldn't be as secure as a wireless laptop or mobile browser (or looking at it another way, as secure as a metal house key and a plastic credit card).

From a conceptual standpoint, sure it would be really neat technology. So are some of the new man-made biotoxins, but I wouldn't advocate them for use by the general public! ;-) Yes, an extreme and kind of silly example, but I hope the point comes across that just because a new technology is amazingly cool doesn't mean it should be put into general use. Ever.

And I'm not really talking about a particular product or implementation; I'm talking about two separate, but related problems with any product in this space. One, RFID devices that you keep on your person at (nearly) all times are a very bad idea. By their nature, they allow others, with or without your permission to identify you and track your whereabouts. There are many reasons why this is not a good idea, hopefully no explanation is necessary.

The other thing about security to consider is that you never want to have all your eggs in one basket. i.e., it would be really cool and convenient if you could carry one single physical key (metal or otherwise) that would open your house, start your car, open your office door and desk, etc. But that's an absolutely terrible idea from a security standpoint. It means that anyone with that key has full and total access to whatever you own. It's actually a little less scary with a physical key than a digital key, but it's like using the same password on every account. It means there are now lots of different vectors of attack, and any breach is far more valuable than it is when things are kept separate. The more consolidation, the more value, and ultimately the more likely you (and in fact, all of us) are to be victims, because the payoff is that much higher.

Lastly for now, I wouldn't use the notion of being as secure as a wireless laptop or mobile browser as a high standard of security! ;-) Security issues and updates are constantly being found and addressed and exploited. These little 5-cent devices, by their very nature, will not (any time in the near future) be even as secure as browsers, and that's a very low bar! Watch the Adam Savage video clip above. In any case, I certainly don't want my car to be startable by some clever hacker walking through a parking lot with a smart electronic device.
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post #18 of 18
How are people who love liberty and expect Federal officials to uphold their oath of office and keep us free lunatics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Oh hi, the lunatic tea party forum is a little lower.....
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