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Apple planning NFC e-wallet functionality for a 'coming' iPhone, NYT says

post #1 of 14
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Apple reportedly plans to add a near-field communications chip to a future iPhone for wireless e-wallet transactions, though the feature will not necessarily appear in this year's anticipated iPhone 5.

Citing two anonymous sources with details on a coming iPhone, The New York Times reported on Monday that a future handset from Apple will include a NFC chip from Qualcomm. That wireless chip could allow a next-generation iPhone to be used to make mobile payments.

Author Nick Bilton said though Apple apparently plans to add the feature to a future iPhone, "it is unclear" which handset it will appear in. Apple typically releases its annual iPhone upgrade in June.

"one person familiar with the new Apple feature said the phone's credit card information would be tied to information currently used on iTunes, which would make it simple for customers to set up the new mobile payment method on the iPhone," the report said.

The report comes soon after a separate story from Forbes, which claimed that Apple plans to bring NFC functionality to the anticipated iPhone 5 this summer. But a separate report last week also claimed that Apple had abandoned its plans to include an NFC chip in the iPhone 5, citing "the lack of a clear standard."

Google's flagship, custom-built Android phone, the Nexus S, was released late last year with an NFC chip for short-range wireless data transmission. However, the feature has failed to attract any major applications thus far.

This January, AppleInsider exclusively reported that Apple was looking to hire a hardware engineer familiar with radio-frequency identification, or RFID, a type of NFC. The company also sought a number of payment platform experts for products in retail stores, inviting applications to be a part of "something big."

Rumors of an NFC-capable iPhone have repeatedly surfaced, fueled in part by last year's hiring of Benjamin Vigier, an expert on NFC technology. Previously, Vigier was the project manager for mobile wallet, payment and NFC at mFoundry, a company that specializes in mobile payments.
post #2 of 14
Coming out with an NFC e-wallet is a relatively easy task compared with getting all the merchants in the world to be compatible with it. I would be interested to know how merchants will physically communicate with iPhone NFC handsets. Will Apple be providing merchants hardware that sits next to their cash register?

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post #3 of 14
There have been enough rumors about this that I'm suspending judgement on anything iPhone NFC related until there's some definitive information. This story's run itself ragged.
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post #4 of 14
The only way I see this happening with the iPhone 5 is if there is a decent SW feature for it. I cant imagine Apple would do what Samsung and Google did with the Nexus S and add a new HW feature that has absolutely no SW that can utilize it out of the box.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Coming out with an NFC e-wallet is a relatively easy task compared with getting all the merchants in the world to be compatible with it. I would be interested to know how merchants are expected to connect to an iPhone NFC system.

Its simple, it just deducts from your iTunes account. Oh, and Apple takes 30% cut from the top from merchants.
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post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Coming out with an NFC e-wallet is a relatively easy task compared with getting all the merchants in the world to be compatible with it. I would be interested to know how merchants are expected to connect to an iPhone NFC system.

The same way they currently do in Europe
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleConvertNJRob View Post

The same way they currently do in Europe

Could you elaborate on that and explain how Apple could use one system to integrate with all the worlds NFC transaction systems in one device?
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It’s simple, it just deducts from your iTunes account. Oh, and Apple takes 30% cut from the top from merchants.

I was referring to the front end system that sits next to the cash register, not the back end. How will every merchant in the world physically communicate with an iPhone NFC handset?

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post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I was referring to the front end system that sits next to the cash register, not the back end. How will every merchant in the world physically communicate with an iPhone NFC system?

1) Theyd have to be able have NFC capable devices at the register. Since this isnt common in the US one side of the other has to take the plunge before it will become commonplace on the other. The iPhone would be a great way to get this ball rolling quickly without the government mandating it since Apple will sell dozens of millions of the next iPhone.

2) My initial reply was a joke.
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I was referring to the front end system that sits next to the cash register, not the back end. How will every merchant in the world physically communicate with an iPhone NFC handset?

The ones I've seen appear to use a variation on RFID, and articles seem to confirm this in general. The merchant would have a reader that would read the tag and communicate with the point of sale and the retailer's merchant account provider. Really, the main difference is the physical interface, instead of just a mag stripe reader for a card, it also has a small wireless reader to read a tag that's within about 3cm of the reader.

The lowest tech implementation is probably to place a tag inside the shell. Steps above that might be adding a way to communicate between the tag and the phone electronics so the tag can be reconfigured. RFID tags can be wirelessly reprogrammed externally using a reader device too. Hopefully it is something better than ordinary RFID as RFID can be spoofed and hacked with relatively inexpensive equipment.

Anyways, the way to do it is to include circuitry that complies with existing systems. I'm not familiar with variations on the idea, the problem might be including the proper circuitry that is either compatible with multiple systems or including circuitry on a country level.
post #10 of 14
This sounds pretty cool, but I'm more eager to learn what other types of software capabilities NFC will add, particularly when interacting with other iOS devices and Macs.

Don't think I'd use an e-wallet even if I had one.
post #11 of 14
I thought 'libertyforall' would be all over tyis by now


Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The only way I see this happening with the iPhone 5 is if there is a decent SW feature for it. I cant imagine Apple would do what Samsung and Google did with the Nexus S and add a new HW feature that has absolutely no SW that can utilize it out of the box.

Then I hope they've been working on the software side - this is one of the things I've been looking forward to, and my 2 year upgrade cycle falls this year... unfortunately, as it seems "major" upgrades are coming on even years
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post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

Coming out with an NFC e-wallet is a relatively easy task compared with getting all the merchants in the world to be compatible with it. I would be interested to know how merchants will physically communicate with iPhone NFC handsets. Will Apple be providing merchants hardware that sits next to their cash register?

Another iPhone or an iPad should be enough.

Also I don't see why can't this NFC thing work like bump. Where bump passes a contact card between devices, this NFC could pass a digitally certified check. Then the recipient could print it out or electronically deposit it.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennen View Post

I thought 'libertyforall' would be all over tyis by now

He thought he saw the feds following him when he went to get a bagel so hes gone dark.
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post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

I was referring to the front end system that sits next to the cash register, not the back end. How will every merchant in the world physically communicate with an iPhone NFC handset?

Point-of-purchase terminals increasingly contain NFC/RFID readers. The standard is ISO 14443b. All the major terminal developers are building variants that support this standard, which is not too hard to do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by xsu View Post

Also I don't see why can't this NFC thing work like bump. Where bump passes a contact card between devices, this NFC could pass a digitally certified check. Then the recipient could print it out or electronically deposit it.

Heh. Probably 90% of the reason why NFC is in the phone is for apps like bump, which will be made much better by NFC. Right now they use GPS and a timestamp, which is not perfect and takes a lot of power.
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