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Apple's next-gen iPhone rumored with RFID-enabled 'remote computing'

post #1 of 42
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The addition of a near-field communication chip to Apple's next-generation iPhone would add not only "e-wallet" transactions, but also the ability to securely turn a nearby Mac into your own computer, complete with custom settings and personal passwords, according to a new rumor.

Citing an anonymous source, Cult of Mac reported Monday that Apple is working on near-field communication technology for both its smartphone and future Macs. The functionality is rumored to appear in Apple's next iPhone, expected to launch in June 2011.

The source said an iPhone with near-field communications like an RFID chip could be used within proximity of a Mac, allowing users to load applications, settings and data on the Mac from the phone. When the iPhone is taken away from the proximity of the computer, the data would disappear with it.

"The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data," the source reportedly said. "The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own -- like you're actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac."

The information contained on the phone would reportedly include contacts, desktop picture, mouse and keyboard settings, website passwords, and even software licenses. Taking the iPhone away from the proximity of the computer would then restore the Mac to its original state.

The source indicated that Apple is interested in making it easy for users to carry all of their information with them, but that task has become difficult as file sizes and the amount of data continues to grow. They said it's possible that Apple could store larger files in the cloud, while the basics like passwords and documents would be contained on the phone.

Last week, a report alleged that Apple is developing a new open SIM for its next-generation iPhone, which would allow one handset to work with multiple carriers. It was also speculated that the technology from a partnership with Gemalto could also enable contactless transactions through an integrated RFID chip.

Rumors of an RFID-enabled iPhone have existed for some time, though the product has not yet come to be. However, Apple has filed patents related to near-field communications, including an application in July that described a system allowing users to rely on NFC functionality in the iPhone to research products and quickly find helpful information, such as an instruction manual.

Apple has also hired experts on near-field communications, and was even rumored to be testing iPhone models with RFID chips as recently as August.

Cult of Mac's source indicated that Apple has been working on RFID-equipped products and its "remote computing" technology for some time, but cautioned that it may never become a part of the company's products. But the adoption of near-field communications could be a superior alternative to other short-range wireless technologies, like Bluetooth, because of a simpler and faster secure authentication system.

Cult of Mac's recent track record has not been tremendously accurate, as the site incorrectly reported last month that the new MacBook Air would have user-upgradeable RAM, processor speeds up to 2.4GHz, and a battery life of between 8 and 10 hours. The site did corroborate AppleInsider's own, accurate report that the new MacBook Air would come in two screen sizes: 11.6 inches and 13.3 inches.
post #2 of 42
Hmm... not sure I like the idea my computer could be unlocked if someone got ahold of my iPhone. That is, if I had a new computer and an iPhone.

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post #3 of 42
This is seriously cool stuff, but implementation and assurance of security are key factors that will have to be answered first.
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post #4 of 42
interesting

does this mean the iphone 5 killer app will be both a wallet and a cash register?
post #5 of 42
Cool. The addition of the technology that many insisted would be mandatory for the iPhone to succeed in Japan! Now Apple can take over Japan! Er, wait...

Personally I think this is way overdue - it would be great functionality to have. Hopefully, if true, this means Apple is also working on ways to sync or coordinate among multiple Macs you might own even without an iOS device. Multiple computer, multiple user households are not uncommon now.
post #6 of 42
They are really going to have to nail this in order for people to trust it.
post #7 of 42
I don't get it. You can already do this kind of thing with mobileme. Just enable mobileme to work with guest accounts in OS X.
post #8 of 42
I understand using RFID and NFC for things like digital wallets and credit cards, but why would Apple not also enable this over Bluetoth or WiFi?

Then any existing iPhone, iPad, or Touch could act as your "Home" folder on nearly any current Mac. Just pair them up like you currently do with Apple TVs and Apple Remote apps. Or simply allow encrypted WiFi connections to a password-protected "folder" on an iOS device.

As far as I can see, NFC hardware brings nothing to this particular party.
post #9 of 42
yes, please.
post #10 of 42
As long as there is a way to turn it off, I'm good.
post #11 of 42
This sounds like total BS...the next Ford Echo is going to be a hover car too
post #12 of 42
...before I trust my wallet to them.
post #13 of 42
You won't need to download your data to that public Mac in a coffee shop. That would be an unbelievably stupid thing to do. It would be Microsoft-stupid.

A better concept would be to transparently initiate an Apple Remote Desktop session with Apple's servers. This means that all your data would need to be stored in Apple's "cloud," of course. But it obviates copying most or all of your data to the random Mac you happen to be near.

Macs wouldn't necessarily need multi-terabyte hard drives. Just a few hundred gigs of flash for mass storage of frequently-accessed files would be enough. If your network connection is fast and if it's reliable. Those are two big "if"s.

Apple likes to gradually evolve technologies quietly, in public, before rolling them into major upgrades. For example, the original click-wheel iPod games were released in September '06, months before the iPhone was first released, and nearly two years before iTunes got the App Store for iPhone. So I would expect the first use of the NC server farm to be something simple, safe, and sane. Probably just streaming music and video. Apple can work on reliability, performance, and scalability while planning for its transition to "cloud" computing.

If iPhone 5 does get the "e-wallet" NFC technology, it will of course be used for point-of-sale purchases. And it could also identify a user and give random Macs access to the music and videos stored in the "cloud." And not too much more. Best to start small and scale things up later.

From what we've seen of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," Apple probably won't shift Mac OS heavily into the "cloud" until after the Lion series has run its course in 2011-2012. So by 2013 or so, Apple could roll out Mac OS 11 "Cumulus" with optional cloud integration. (OS 11 could have cloud codenames, starting from the lowest-altitude clouds and moving up.) That gives Apple plenty of time to battle-harden its server farm and prepare to scale it up. And most importantly, it gives Apple time to perfect its Mac OS cloud technology.

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post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

This sounds like total BS...the next Ford Echo is going to be a hover car too

We heard the same rumor WRT the iP4. Twas ever thus.
post #15 of 42
One of the originally cited features of the Nintendo Wii was that it knew whose controller (within the family) turned it on and set it up accordingly with the right Miis, games on the etc - it's one of the reasons the controller has flash memory in it.

Never happened though.
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Hmm... not sure I like the idea my computer could be unlocked if someone got ahold of my iPhone. That is, if I had a new computer and an iPhone.

The way I understood it, the person with the iPhone wouldn't have access to the data on the computer, they would be using the computer as if their iPhone was the hard drive for that computer. Say you're in a public place with computers, like an airport or a library. The computer has OSX and maybe iWork on it, but no other files. You get a code from your phone that you type into a startup screen on the computer. The computer recognizes your phone as the hard drive, and then you can use all the documents and files on your phone, but on a true desktop. So if you loaded your phone with the most important files from your home desktop or laptop, you could then travel and work on them anywhere.

I'm guessing on the passcode-to-log-in part, of course, but I don't see how else to prevent the computer from frying itself if there are two or more people around with iPhones/iPods. Thoughts?
post #17 of 42
The real use of NFC is wallet technology. is that a risk if the iPhone is stolen, yes it is. However people have that problem with credit cards - basically the NFC will work but will also require ide from the shop keeeper ( except for small purposes like the Oyster card in London's tube which is tellerless, of course).

With stolen iPhones Apple needs to open up the Mobile ME disable at a distance to everyone with a mac.com or me. com id.

Could be brilliant, certainly the killer app.
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post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

From what we've seen of Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion," Apple probably won't shift Mac OS heavily into the "cloud" until after the Lion series has run its course in 2011-2012. So by 2013 or so, Apple could roll out Mac OS 11 "Cumulus" with optional cloud integration. (OS 11 could have cloud codenames, starting from the lowest-altitude clouds and moving up.) That gives Apple plenty of time to battle-harden its server farm and prepare to scale it up. And most importantly, it gives Apple time to perfect its Mac OS cloud technology.

I don't agree that the idea as stated is "Microsoft stupid" and I don't entirely agree with the transition to cloud computing (need connections so fast they don't exist, data storage in the millions of terabytes, and don't forget the amount of things people store keeps growing). But I do think your idea for naming of OSX 11 is very creative, especially if it does have a (small) cloud component.
post #19 of 42
Sounds a lot like the "home on iPod" feature that quickly show up but was as quickly canned.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by RolandG View Post

Sounds a lot like the "home on iPod" feature that quickly show up but was as quickly canned.

nothing is ever really abandoned.

Anyway that is not the real reason for the NFC, its about the wallet.
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post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

The way I understood it, the person with the iPhone wouldn't have access to the data on the computer, they would be using the computer as if their iPhone was the hard drive for that computer. Say you're in a public place with computers, like an airport or a library. The computer has OSX and maybe iWork on it, but no other files. You get a code from your phone that you type into a startup screen on the computer. The computer recognizes your phone as the hard drive, and then you can use all the documents and files on your phone, but on a true desktop. So if you loaded your phone with the most important files from your home desktop or laptop, you could then travel and work on them anywhere.

I'm guessing on the passcode-to-log-in part, of course, but I don't see how else to prevent the computer from frying itself if there are two or more people around with iPhones/iPods. Thoughts?

I'm thinking more like your files in in Apple's giant new server facility and the only thing on your iPhone are the keys. Something like Apple's current Keychain (which can sync between devices via MobleMe). So you log into the Mac has a guest, then it detects and pairs with your iPhone and gets the keys to access all your files, settings, and apps in the cloud.
post #22 of 42
All my data copied onto someone else's MAC....how do I ensure that it is all erased when I walk away?

Just because you can do it, doesn't mean that it should be done.
post #23 of 42
Why does this keep coming back up? You do NOT want RFID NFC SPYCHIPS!

Read:
http://spychips.com

Watch the free movie:
http://americafreedomtofascism.com

Wake up everyone.
post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

This sounds like total BS...the next Ford Echo is going to be a hover car too

No it's just bad reporting. They are making it sound like this is happening in the next iPhone when in fact the original rumour clearly says that it may not happen at all and implies that it's part of a research project only. One that we know has been underway at Apple for years already.

The next iPhone will probably have the near field chip in it, but only for making your phone act as a wallet.

All this other stuff is just gossamer fantasy that's been inexpertly tacked onto the end of a real story, and now (three steps removed from the source), seems like it might actually happen tomorrow, when in fact it's a long ways from being implemented, if it's even implemented at all.
post #25 of 42
More and more it looks like the future is upon us. It seems that the most we expect of things possible at the moment has presented itself.

Once the cloud, (or the expectation of it is demonstrated). What else literally can be expected.
Sure many of us perhaps expected Flying Cars to be around the corner in 2010-2015. But we can barely see Electric Cars still having a hard time in becoming reality.

Even in the Smartphone arena. What more is to be expected literally? Sure it would be great to perhaps have a Pico Projector included. But would that in itself be must have accessory? This NFC
chip shows a little promise. But what else do we actually need? What else do we actually cannot do without?

Apple's Data Farm has not yet opened up. But everybody seems to know pretty much what Apple has in store for us. Music, Movies,Pictures, some of our files over the air. Perhaps more secure than what is now available thru the existing cloud. Perhaps Mobile Me will be needed.

Once Apple does this. And the Macs and Phones start to move all of our stuff around, where we have everything we need with us at all times. Where do we go from here?

I think, the Future is upon Us. At least for a few years.
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Hmm... not sure I like the idea my computer could be unlocked if someone got ahold of my iPhone. That is, if I had a new computer and an iPhone.

I'm sure you will have the option to require password to connect or something like that. This combined with the power of the cloud could bring some amazing things in the future. Having your data wherever you go is increasingly becoming the priority, this is just one more step in that direction. Next they'll embed the chips in your body & you will basically walk up to any computer & use it like it was your own. Then someone will write a virus that causes the chips to fry inside your body & it will be a huge debacle. The program will get shut down & we'll all go back to using Windows 3.1.
post #27 of 42
"The future ain't what it used to be" - Yogi Berra
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

The next iPhone will probably have the near field chip in it, but only for making your phone act as a wallet.

All this other stuff is just gossamer fantasy that's been inexpertly tacked onto the end of a real story, and now (three steps removed from the source), seems like it might actually happen tomorrow, when in fact it's a long ways from being implemented, if it's even implemented at all.

Well, it's really 2 independent stories. The first - Apple is looking at NFC on the iPhone. This they seem to not consider particularly interesting.

The second - Apple has a new technology allowing you to use any Mac as your own - and they say it is accessed via NFC on the iPhone. But I'm sure Apple could offer an app on the iPhone that advertises itself via Bluetooth - just click it and any nearby Mac on the log-in screen will show the iPhone user (requiring passwords etc). Or why not just log into any Mac via your AppleID and get the same setup via MobileMe. There are a few options.

This has seemed an obvious thing for a while... but difficult to get right. Particularly with partially synced file systems on the phone integrated with cloud backups/syncs and Back-to-my-Mac.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data," the source reportedly said. "The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own -- like you're actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac."

I still firmly believe (though nobody seemed to agree with me before so I acknowledge I may be dreaming!) that it won't just be settings, look, preferences etc - but also access any self contained app. In essence, any app purchased from the Mac App Store (they're licensed to any login that uses your AppleID, of course)
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Why does this keep coming back up? You do NOT want RFID NFC SPYCHIPS!

Read:
http://spychips.com

Watch the free movie:
http://americafreedomtofascism.com

Wake up everyone.

100% agree. The more tracking technology we have built into ANYTHING, the more we give up our privacy and freedom.

Besides, there is ALWAYS a hacker out there who can figure out how to get any info he/she wants. Period. I can already feel their brain working to figure out how to get your private info while connected to one of these public Macs. I've already heard horror stories of people with portable RFID scanners (you can buy them online) in places like grocery stores, who scan your RFID-embedded credit/debt card from a close proximity and get your info.

Sorry, but I'll pass on this one.
post #30 of 42
this is only a simple version. Imagine what's coming...
http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/19/r...with-8-reader/
post #31 of 42
Old news. Nokia had this a few phones ago.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

I understand using RFID and NFC for things like digital wallets and credit cards, but why would Apple not also enable this over Bluetoth or WiFi?

At least on my iPhone 3G, both BT and WiFi suck the battery dry in no time. I tried for a while a little app called Airlock, it really cut my battery time in half if not worse (well and it was sometimes a tad slow to activate). So, I disabled it again, just from the energy consumption point of view, doubling the energy consumption of my iPhone just for this feature seemed wrong.
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

YA better concept would be to transparently initiate an Apple Remote Desktop session with Apple's servers.

Correct!

Imagine going up to any Internet-connected Mac anywhere, logging in with your name & password, and bam! Your desktop and everything are right there.

Just don't forget to log out. Unless the RFID thing could be used for THAT, i.e. automatically closing the connection when you walk away.
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

You won't need to download your data to that public Mac in a coffee shop. That would be an unbelievably stupid thing to do. It would be Microsoft-stupid.

Oh pah-lease, all the revolutionary ideas in your post are using technology that Microsoft have already been selling for 10 years.
post #35 of 42
This sounds like roaming profiles circa '99

Everyone else seems to want to do this over the cloud, but I don't think the network is there yet. It's probably not a bad idea to have an interim where phones are used instead.

I'm struggling to work out why they would want to use RFID though. You're going to need Bluetooth or Wifi to transfer the data anyway.
post #36 of 42
I'm wondering why more work hasn't been done in the area of iris scan technology. You always hear about retinal scanners, but they're cumbersome, as you have to put your eye right up to the camera/scanner thingy. I read a few years back about some researchers working on iris scan technology, which would allow you to be as far as an arm's length away from the camera. This is what I would like to seeno more passwords: you turn on (or wake up) your Mac, and it IDs you with its iSight (now FaceTime) camera automatically. Using it as your keychain, and you could access all your various web accounts and whatnot without using any passwords. You never have to worry about forgetting your password, or worse, having your password/ID stolen.

In terms of the rumored NFC/RFID feature on the next gen iPhone, your iris ID could be used to verify that you are logging onto a Mac with your iPhone, and that someone hasn't stolen it.

But, lowering the fantasy bar a bit, someone here expressed a concern about someone with a stolen iPhone getting access to a Mac. I assume that you wouldn't have root/admin access to the Mac from your iPhone, so you wouldn't have access to any files that aren't available to "everyone". OS X would have to be updated to even recognize the iPhone and give it access. I would assume the designers would have these security concerns in mind when developing the update.

All in all, I think this would be a pretty cool feature, to be able to "carry" your ID with you, wherever you go. Yes, yes, the Big Brother issue is a valid concern, but there was a discussion here the other week about how kids these days are growing up with geotags and location info on their phones. It's becoming part of the culture. If you're really concerned about 100%, or even 90 or 80% privacy, then you'll basically have to keep it old school, because tomorrow, we'll be living in the future!
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post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sippincider View Post

Correct!

Imagine going up to any Internet-connected Mac anywhere, logging in with your name & password, and bam! Your desktop and everything are right there.

Just don't forget to log out. Unless the RFID thing could be used for THAT, i.e. automatically closing the connection when you walk away.

I assume that would be the primary function of the RFID—for proximity detection, rather than data transfer, as I believe RFID is pretty low bandwidth.

You place your iPhone near a Mac at the local internet café, and the RFID tells the Mac that you're there. The Mac, in turn, opens up Bluetooth and/or Airport, IDs your iPhone, and immediately downloads your info into a temporary account, in the background, while you're logging on. I say immediately in the background because it would be a nuisance to have to wait until after you logged in to download all your stuff. Besides, you may just be hanging out, and have inadvertently placed your iPhone on the desk next to the Mac without actually intending to log on.

When you leave—when the Mac no longer detects your iPhone's RFID, then it automatically logs out and deletes the temporary account, restoring the Mac to the state it was in before you came by.
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post #38 of 42
RFID is a really bad implementation for this. why not use wifi or USB and some form of real authentication. Proximity is pretty shaky.
post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

The real use of NFC is wallet technology. is that a risk if the iPhone is stolen, yes it is. However people have that problem with credit cards - basically the NFC will work but will also require ide from the shop keeeper ( except for small purposes like the Oyster card in London's tube which is tellerless, of course).

With stolen iPhones Apple needs to open up the Mobile ME disable at a distance to everyone with a mac.com or me. com id.

Could be brilliant, certainly the killer app.

People here already use their mobile phone for ewallet transactions. Some brands are Eddy, ID and others. People lose their phones here to obviously so I guess it's not a problem.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Old news. Nokia had this a few phones ago.

Nokia had a phone that would transfer all your desktop OS settings and files?
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