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10th anniversary of retail could see Apple adopt NFC payments - rumor

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
With Apple said to be planning secret meetings and changes in its stores this coming weekend, a new rumor claims that the company could adopt near-field communication wireless transaction capabilities in its retail outlets.

Citing multiple anonymous sources, Boy Genius Report said on Tuesday that Apple could introduce NFC payments at its stores in the coming days. Such a change would align with the tenth anniversary of Apple's retail stores, with the company allegedly planning something to commemorate the event.

If Apple does adopt NFC payments in its stores, it would also be a major blow to a rumor that surfaced on Monday that Apple would not include an RFID near-field communications chip for e-wallet transactions in its anticipated fifth-generation iPhone. There have been multiple signs over the years that Apple is interested in an e-wallet system, including patent filings, job listings, and a recent report from The New York Times.

Currently, none of Apple's products include NFC chips or the ability to support e-wallet wireless transactions. What, if any, devices would be compatible with Apple's rumored payment system at launch remains unknown.

Tuesday's report notes that Apple's point-of-sale iPod touch wireless payment terminals recently went offline for maintenance for an entire day. It also restated its scoop that Apple's retail stores received multiple overnight shipments, and that employees will be working this coming weekend to install new devices.

"Lastly, sources tell us that there have been new tables installed in stores that have different wiring compared to Apple's standard tables," the report said. "They also have cash wraps built in, but they aren't being used yet and employees have been instructed to wait for further information."

AppleInsider first reported in April that Apple had restricted employee time off between May 20 and 22, dates that are very close to the May 19 anniversary of the opening of the first two Apple stores in Virginia and California in 2001. It was said that store managers were "very excited" about the dates, but no details of what could take place were given.

Apple is rumored to have scheduled store meetings at a very early 7 a.m. start time on Sunday, with other mandatory meetings set to be held into the evening. It was also said earlier this week that retail employees have had to download gigabytes of password-protected data related to corporate training.



Although Boy Genius Report has a respectable track record with regard to Apple's partnerships with wireless carriers it has missed the mark on several other Apple predictions from its sources. In 2009, the site reported that Blu-ray support was coming to iTunes 9, while last year the site claimed that the launch of a cloud-based streaming service, along with wireless syncing of data, was "imminent" from Apple.
post #2 of 21
Now THAT would be 'dogfooding'.
post #3 of 21
I don’t get this. How does offering NFC payments in a week when there will be no Apple devices with the capability until September make sense? What am I missing?

Plus, it’s not as if Apple did the same thing when they finally removed the Moto WinCE handheld payment systems in favor of their iPod Touch systems with the CC reader and iPads. They just added them and let people pay accordingly.

What would the new posters say? Now offering NFC payments if you have a Samsung Nexus S!


This really just sounds like the revamping of the stores that we heard about last year finally coming to fruition.
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post #4 of 21
I can guarantee it has nothing to do with NFC.
post #5 of 21
Every iCloud has an aluminum lining.
post #6 of 21
OMG it makes sense. There's no new product or an announcement. It's the new Apple Stores, new strategy, new way to pay and interact with customers.
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post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

it would also be a major blow to a rumor that surfaced on Monday that Apple would not include an RFID near-field communications chip for e-wallet transactions in its anticipated fifth-generation iPhone.][/url][/c]

Really strange sentence; is there a group of people out there cheering this rumour whose hopes will be dashed???

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I dont get this. How does offering NFC payments in a week when there will be no Apple devices with the capability until September make sense? What am I missing?

Plus, its not as if Apple did the same thing when they finally removed the Moto WinCE handheld payment systems in favor of their iPod Touch systems with the CC reader and iPads. They just added them and let people pay accordingly.

What would the new posters say? Now offering NFC payments if you have a Samsung Nexus S!


This really just sounds like the revamping of the stores that we heard about last year finally coming to fruition.

I'm with you. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I suppose it's possible that the NFC technology could be installed this weekend as part of all these changes ready for a future iPhone5, but it surely can't be the reason for the hype we're expecting to see next week.

Apart from anything else, not having a single Apple device capable of using the technology would just seem downright silly to the public, as you say.

It's highly intriguing, whatever it is!
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

Really strange sentence; is there a group of people out there cheering this rumour whose hopes will be dashed???

I noticed that, too. I thought it funny that a flimsy rumor be given the elevated status of something that could receive a MAJOR BLOW. OMG! The rumor has been annihilated by another rumor. But I gotta admit, I'm crushed.
post #9 of 21
Great, I'm buying a MacBook Pro and paying with my iPh-wait...
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post #10 of 21
I can't say I've done a lot of study into all of this, but NFC is basically a programmable RFID chip that resides in the device. This means, you configure want you want that value to be and the reader can hear that value. It's fairly short range.

My question is then... would this be possible with existing wireless protocols? Why would you need to add another RF device into the phone? Why not use something like low-powered Bluetooth? The amount of data being transferred is very nominal, the need for an actual handshake more secure, and the cost of these components nowadays is so low that NFC could be considered USB3 to Apple. What if they've already invented a more secure, Bluetooth based stack that could be implemented immediately? With a software update? (iOS5) on existing devices?

Again, this is a rumor site, so I'm just adding fuel to the fire. I've done some iOS programming for proximity based applications and there is always the potential to use Bluetooth for some of these applications.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

Really strange sentence; is there a group of people out there cheering this rumour whose hopes will be dashed???

Referring to this sentence:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If Apple does adopt NFC payments in its stores, it would also be a major blow to a rumor that surfaced on Monday that Apple would not include an RFID near-field communications chip for e-wallet transactions in its anticipated fifth-generation iPhone.

This appears to be purely a Dilgerism, or SlashLaneism. As much as his insights are valuable, they are sometimes hammered out with combat, war and competition metaphors. It's one of the occupational hazards of being an American. Other journalists are habituated to this kind of language, e.g., 'platform wars,' 'iPhone killer,' etc.

But I notice DED doing it less and less these days.
post #12 of 21
No matter what the outcome of this NFC thingamajig is I know one thing, Steve will take the stage and proudly present their association with a number of US banks that the new system will be "magic" and seamless, meanwhile in Sweden and the rest of the smaller western countries, we will see no such thing.

The lion part of Europe hasn't seen a whiff of the iTunes movie store, no visual voicemail etc etc. I know that Sweden isn't the largest market. In the world but come on, we're quick to adopt new tech IF the tech ever gets here.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I dont get this. How does offering NFC payments in a week when there will be no Apple devices with the capability until September make sense? What am I missing?

Plus, its not as if Apple did the same thing when they finally removed the Moto WinCE handheld payment systems in favor of their iPod Touch systems with the CC reader and iPads. They just added them and let people pay accordingly.

What would the new posters say? Now offering NFC payments if you have a Samsung Nexus S!


This really just sounds like the revamping of the stores that we heard about last year finally coming to fruition.

Huh? Why does Apple have to offer a device with NFC to support NFC payments in its stores?

Lots of banks are issuing debit and credit cards with NFC chips in them, and more and more shops I go into these days have NFC readers. The current system of entering a PIN while the card is in the reader at the Apple Store is fine for most people, but NFC would make things a bit easier.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Huh? Why does Apple have to offer a device with NFC to support NFC payments in its stores?

Lots of banks are issuing debit and credit cards with NFC chips in them, and more and more shops I go into these days have NFC readers. The current system of entering a PIN while the card is in the reader at the Apple Store is fine for most people, but NFC would make things a bit easier.

I thought that the current debit / credit cards with the NFC chips in them were for payments to a max. of £15,.. remind me what you can buy from Apple for less than £15 ,... ,,,???
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Huh? Why does Apple have to offer a device with NFC to support NFC payments in its stores?

Lots of banks are issuing debit and credit cards with NFC chips in them, and more and more shops I go into these days have NFC readers. The current system of entering a PIN while the card is in the reader at the Apple Store is fine for most people, but NFC would make things a bit easier.

I'll take your word for it, but even so, why would this be the kind of thing that needs to be all hush-hush?

Doesn't pass the smell test to me.

Thompson
post #16 of 21
It's low probability, but it is possible that Apple snuck NFC into iPhone4 and will enable it with an iOS update. It would mean physically hiding the hardware and antenna, and keeping strings out of iOS. So I'm calling that 5%.

Even in that case, this rumor makes little sense. Why be secretive with black curtains and stuff if you're just updating tables and POS devices? They could do that in full view and everyone would yawn.

I'm betting on either a new store layout/service (60%) or a new product (35%). It would be strange to introduce a product this way, but the timing would make sense if iPhone is indeed moving to a September refresh schedule.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrooksT View Post

It's low probability, but it is possible that Apple snuck NFC into iPhone4 and will enable it with an iOS update. It would mean physically hiding the hardware and antenna, and keeping strings out of iOS. So I'm calling that 5%.

Even in that case, this rumor makes little sense. Why be secretive with black curtains and stuff if you're just updating tables and POS devices? They could do that in full view and everyone would yawn.

I'm betting on either a new store layout/service (60%) or a new product (35%). It would be strange to introduce a product this way, but the timing would make sense if iPhone is indeed moving to a September refresh schedule.

A new product launch seems unlikely to me. (Even less than your 35%.) Such things are typically done at a media event, even if Steve Jobs is unavailable. This seems more likely to be a distributed service that adds value to the Apple ecosystem.

I note that Mobile Me recently required an upgrade to user's calendar mechanisms by mid-May. That deadline and this event seem well timed. I suspect that MobileMe is turning into iCloud this weekend, with some enhancements. And they are going to show it off and sell the heck out of it at Apple Stores.

That's my hunch.

Thompson
post #18 of 21
That would be retarded to say the least. Here come try out our NFC payments system, or wait none of our products can use that and our POS iPads are unable to do the S in POS and sell anything cause they don't have NFC. I would rather have a free shuffle with a Mac pro purchase then an NFC checkout announcement right now.
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkichline View Post

My question is then... would this be possible with existing wireless protocols? Why would you need to add another RF device into the phone? Why not use something like low-powered Bluetooth? The amount of data being transferred is very nominal, the need for an actual handshake more secure, and the cost of these components nowadays is so low that NFC could be considered USB3 to Apple. What if they've already invented a more secure, Bluetooth based stack that could be implemented immediately? With a software update? (iOS5) on existing devices?

I agree. This may be more about a payment solution, that other merchants will be able to implement in order to take payments from iOS devices, than the hardware we buy from Apple. By implementing a solution that works on current devices they will be able to start making small fees on transactions from millions of iOS devices currently in users' hands. Such a strategy wouldn't necessarily stop them from implementing NFC specific hardware in future iOS products.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by thompr View Post

I note that Mobile Me recently required an upgrade to user's calendar mechanisms by mid-May. That deadline and this event seem well timed. I suspect that MobileMe is turning into iCloud this weekend, with some enhancements. And they are going to show it off and sell the heck out of it at Apple Stores.

That's my hunch.

Thompson

I don't very often see 'iCloud' and 'sell' in the same sentence since many are picking that it will be free. I'm certainly keen to hear what Apple will do with the cloud but even if they are charging for it, I can't imagine why I would go into a physical store to purchase an online service. I figure I'd rather sit at home and play with the new service first hand. And why would the new cloud service require new table installs. So many questions.

Anyway, I just want a new MacMini. Please Apple.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Bailey View Post

I don't very often see 'iCloud' and 'sell' in the same sentence since many are picking that it will be free. I'm certainly keen to hear what Apple will do with the cloud but even if they are charging for it, I can't imagine why I would go into a physical store to purchase an online service. I figure I'd rather sit at home and play with the new service first hand. And why would the new cloud service require new table installs. So many questions.

Anyway, I just want a new MacMini. Please Apple.

The reason the retail stores are important is that Apple is bringing the cloud to the masses. Your average technophile will need no assistance with the transition however the average person would welcome a little handholding from the Apple retail staff.

Apple will be able to drive adoption of it's cloud services much faster than Amazon or Google for this reason.
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