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Apple reportedly taps chipmaker NXP for 'iPhone 6' NFC solution

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Adding to the pile of rumors suggesting NFC hardware will be built into the next iPhone, a report on Friday narrows down the as-yet-unannounced component's source to Dutch chipmaker NXP, the same firm that supplies Apple with the M7 coprocessor.

Touch ID


Citing people familiar with Apple's plans, the Financial Times reports the company has been working with NXP on contactless mobile payment system based on near-field communication technology, possibly tied to users' iTunes accounts. According to hardware analysis firm Chipworks, NXP already has a significant presence in Apple's iOS device lineup as the Dutch chipmaker supplies the iPhone 5s' M7 motion coprocessor.

With the rumored system in place, iPhone owners would be able to store credit card and other payment information locally and simply tap the handset against compatible point of sale terminals. As credit card theft still a major problem around the world, companies like Visa and Mastercard are moving toward more secure solutions, specifically chip-and-PIN POS systems -- which happen to include support for certain NFC-based standards -- that should roll out across their respective networks by October 2015, the report says.

Apple holds a number of patents relating to NFC payments solutions and the company has long been rumored to be looking to introduce such capability in its iOS device lineup. On Thursday, a pair of reports claimed the iPhone 6 would be the first Apple device to sport an NFC chip, to be leveraged for digital wallet purposes.

It remains unclear if Apple's mobile payments plans will rely solely on NFC, though such a scenario seems unlikely given that its massive installed iOS device user base would be left out unless they upgrade to new hardware. Successfully introducing a new form of payment means wide adoption consumer adoption. One possible stopgap could be a hybrid setup using either on-board NFC or, if the user does not own a new iPhone, a combination of Bluetooth Low Energy and wireless data.

Along with digital wallet capabilities, today's report claims NXP's chip may also be used to bolster the next-generation iPhone's compatibility with the so-called "internet of things," a catchall phrase describing connected devices like health trackers to app-powered home appliances. The forthcoming iOS 8 mobile operating system bound for Apple's "iPhone 6" does include a powerful framework for smart home products called HomeKit, which could theoretically support NFC-equipped products.

Apple is expected to announce its new iPhone lineup at a special event on Sept. 9, which according to multiple reports will also include the unveiling of an "iWatch" wearable device. AppleInsider will offering live on-site coverage of the event next week.
post #2 of 34

Oh, good. We have a manufacturer for the thing that was made up a week ago.

 

Not that I figure Apple doesn’t have a payment thing they’re designing.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #3 of 34
This is going to be very interesting - Visa/Mastercard/Amex (etc) have long since rolled out Chip and PIN globally except in the USA more than a decade ago. I'm in Europe and don't remember the last time I signed for something outside of the states. Chip and PIN does not include any kind of NFC specification, however many banks are now including 'contactless' as part of their credit and debit cards over here, and perhaps 20% of shops have a contactless terminal.

If Apple is supporting *that* standard, the banks still have to allow them to, which does appear to be increasingly likely with something that would be very much more secure than Android. If WinPhone followed suit, then we may have a shot, given it's popularity in Europe on the low end (aka. Teens and younger folks).
post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryblackman View Post

Chip and PIN does not include any kind of NFC specification, however many banks are now including 'contactless' as part of their credit and debit cards over here, and perhaps 20% of shops have a contactless terminal.
 

 

Contactless is the exact same as the chip system. It's technically called EMV Contactless and operates with the same protocol and infrastructure. The US has had contactless since 2005. Most AMEX cards have it since then, and places like McDonald's and 7-11 have the terminals. Visa laid out significant incentives for merchants to install them and every new chip reader I've seen here also has contactless. This is exactly why Apple stands no chance making their own payment method.

 

I predict the US will basically skip over the hassle of a chip and go straight to contactless.

post #5 of 34
I'm not deep into these technologies. I just have a hard time imagining apple comes up with something that would require heavy hard ware investments from shop owners and/or banks. They would rather try to use existing tech and make it work in a way that's more easy than current approaches.
That could imply not needing to carry the cards themselves. Not having to sign. Not having to enter a pin. And maybe not having to take out the phone for the ones that wear the wearable to be announced.
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
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Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
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post #6 of 34


TouchID with Secure enclave plus iBeacon will be central to the whole iOS security system.

TouchID secured NFC will be a secondary authentication method for backwards compatibility.

 

iBeacon technology + TouchID authentication will be a much more seamless security system.

It will be used for everything from payments to secured area access to alarm systems to ignition systems to a variety of authorizing systems in HomeKit and HealthKit.

 

Time will tell. 

post #7 of 34
Regarding "also include the unveiling of an "iWatch" wearable device."... I posted this comment to Soli already in another thread but feel it is worth going out on a limb here too ...

I have been saying the following privately for several years but kept my opinion pretty much to myself on blogs as i didn't even want to take the risk anyone believed me. But here are my 2 cents on this now we are this close.

The 'watch' in iWatch is not a noun, it's a verb.

It is not 'watch' as in wristwatch or smart watch, it is 'watch' as in; 'watch over' or 'keep watch'. iWatch is not a thing, it is a technology.

It may well be Apple have some wearable or wearables to show the way at the front end or not, they may just be supplying the SDK to Polo Ralph Lauren for intelligent shirts and Nike for intelligent shoes and so on. There maybe an app for older iPhones that can do some things but only the new iPhone 6 will have the true dedicated hardware to fully utilize the output from iWatch wearables.

The iWatch technology is also a massive back end system that one day will be able to interface with your personal medical data, your pharmacist and your doctor.

Now here is my big prediction: It will be baby steps at first but iWatch will, in years to come, dwarf all else that is now Apple.

p.s. Ironically I suspect, if I am right, many will not see the big picture and be disappointed this isn't just about a new smart watch! AAPL may even suffer over this in the short term.
Edited by digitalclips - 8/29/14 at 4:12am
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #8 of 34

Do they not even proof read their articles anymore?

 

-PopinFRESH

post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


The 'watch' in iWatch is not a noun, it's a verb.

It is not 'watch' as in wristwatch or smart watch, it is 'watch' as in; 'watch over' or 'keep watch'. iWatch is not a thing, it is a technology.

Agreed.
And given the general fear of intrusive technology, I think they will market it as say a 'companion'. Friendly, useful and enabling, fun health prompts rather than Big Brother style monitoring with predictions of imminent death.
If Apple can put technology in people's hands that provokes better lifestyle choices, we are all winners.
post #10 of 34
@ konqerror said: "Visa laid out significant incentives for merchants to install them and every new chip reader I've seen here also has contactless. This is exactly why Apple stands no chance making their own payment method."


> If I could lighten the load on my wallet by not carrying my credit / gas / rewards cards around and pay everything through my iTunes account by touching the fingerprint sensor on my phone, why wouldn't that take off?
post #11 of 34
Is there any chance the M7 processor and existing radios in 5s are already capable of NFC? It would be way cool if Apple released the hardware a year ago without anyone noticing.
post #12 of 34
"Siri, pay the man."

I like it, but I want to be able to do it with my watch, and not the phone, and I want fingerprint confirmation.

So, huge iWatch better have fingerprint recognition built into the face or something.
post #13 of 34
The mark of the Beast!

(We still have a large religious base in the US that will flat out reject this kind of payment system, keep that in mind.)

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

The mark of the Beast!

(We still have a large religious base in the US that will flat out reject this kind of payment system, keep that in mind.)

 

You're so right.

 

Incidentally, I believe the mark of the beast is to be on the hand and the forehead.  So I'm pretty sure the bible/book of revelations was referring to an Android phone (hand) and Google Glass (forehead).  Toxic hellstew, indeed.

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

Is there any chance the M7 processor and existing radios in 5s are already capable of NFC? It would be way cool if Apple released the hardware a year ago without anyone noticing.

slim and none.  I doubt the M7 would be that dual purpose (although it's really a dumbed down ARM processor), and you wouldn't want someone to hack into your motion detection to get to your bank account.  Single purpose chip seems a better path.

 

If I'm reading correctly, the additional Secure enclave would be the central enabling technology (all your credit card info are encrypted in HW).

So the real question is whether the A7 secure enclave is extensible to support this.  Then the question will be if they support only NFC payments, or Bluetooth based as well, if the latter, then the 5s may have some play in the space.

post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryblackman View Post

This is going to be very interesting - Visa/Mastercard/Amex (etc) have long since rolled out Chip and PIN globally except in the USA more than a decade ago. I'm in Europe and don't remember the last time I signed for something outside of the states. Chip and PIN does not include any kind of NFC specification, however many banks are now including 'contactless' as part of their credit and debit cards over here, and perhaps 20% of shops have a contactless terminal.

If Apple is supporting *that* standard, the banks still have to allow them to, which does appear to be increasingly likely with something that would be very much more secure than Android. If WinPhone followed suit, then we may have a shot, given it's popularity in Europe on the low end (aka. Teens and younger folks).

Speaking of MC and support…

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #17 of 34
"One possible stopgap could be a hybrid setup using either on-board NFC or, if the user does not own a new iPhone, a combination of Bluetooth Low Energy and wireless data."

I see it in reverse. NFC is the stopgap solution.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

Is there any chance the M7 processor and existing radios in 5s are already capable of NFC? It would be way cool if Apple released the hardware a year ago without anyone noticing.

Didn't they do this with one of their routers.  It was shipped as wireless G.  Later, when wireless N was standardized, Steve says, "oh, by the way, just download a firmware update and your router becomes wireless N".  They had already built in the prototype modem.  Just amazing.

post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Oh, good. We have a manufacturer for the thing that was made up a week ago.

 

Not that I figure Apple doesn’t have a payment thing they’re designing.

 

Well, Apple does have a patent on a NFC chip that is also a wireless charging system. No reason not to put it in the phone in addition to the watch. Apple can't create their own payment standard, not in the face of opposition from the banks, payment processors and phone carriers. Even the mighty Google wasn't able to get Google Wallet widely accepted, and that wasn't even a unique standard, just a different implementation that the banks and Verizon didn't approve of.

post #20 of 34
As of today, Samsung, in a board room meeting, has decided to add a NFC chip to their next phones.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadMonk View Post

As of today, Samsung, in a board room meeting, has decided to add a NFC chip to their next phones.

 

They decided to add it again?  What do you mean? Two NFC chips to each phone now?

 

P.S. They have and NFC for a while now.

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by BadMonk View Post

As of today, Samsung, in a board room meeting, has decided to add a NFC chip to their next phones.

Haven't they included NFC previously? The problem isn't adding the HW, it's making a viable service. That's what takes partners who trust your word and whom you can build a relationship with.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Haven't they included NFC previously? The problem isn't adding the HW, it's making a viable service. That's what takes partners who trust your word and whom you can build a relationship with.

Google was supposed to set up partnerships, and build relationships, but it seems like the whole 'Google Wallet' project has been put off to the wayside.
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post #24 of 34
can someone tell me where the NFC receiver will be located on the aluminum iphone case?
post #25 of 34
Originally Posted by Truffol View Post
can someone tell me where the NFC receiver will be located on the aluminum iphone case?

 

On the top, facing upward, like all the old classic RF transmitter devices (GameBoy, Newton, etc.).

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Truffol View Post

can someone tell me where the NFC receiver will be located on the aluminum iphone case?

 

NFC is kind of nasty to integrate because the antenna has to be large. It's probably in the touchscreen.

 

http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/04/20/apple_awarded_patent_for_rfid_tag_reader_in_touchscreen_devices

post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

On the top, facing upward, like all the old classic RF transmitter devices (GameBoy, Newton, etc.).

 

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roake View Post

"One possible stopgap could be a hybrid setup using either on-board NFC or, if the user does not own a new iPhone, a combination of Bluetooth Low Energy and wireless data."

I see it in reverse. NFC is the stopgap solution.

Too right. iBeacon is a far more advanced prospect which tracks the purchase decision from before the customer enters the shop.

NFC adoption only makes sense to address the multitude of existing terminals.

McD
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

Too right. iBeacon is a far more advanced prospect which tracks the purchase decision from before the customer enters the shop.

NFC adoption only makes sense to address the multitude of existing terminals.

McD

iBeacons are not more advanced than NFC and NFC isn't a stopgap while they wait for BT to be adopted.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

iBeacons are not more advanced than NFC and NFC isn't a stopgap while they wait for BT to be adopted.
So you think a technology which does more and encapsulates everything another technology does isn't more advanced? How so?

And BLE is more widely deployed, even on Android.
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

So you think a technology which does more and encapsulates everything another technology does isn't more advanced? How so?

And BLE is more widely deployed, even on Android.

BLE may be more widely deployed in phones but NFC is far more widely deployed in actual payment kiosks in the wild.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by McDave View Post

So you think a technology which does more and encapsulates everything another technology does isn't more advanced? How so?

1) BT doesn't encapsulate everything that that NFC offers. Not even close. They are both used for communication but different types of communication.

2) iBeacons doesn't equate to BLE. iBeacons simply use BLE. Referring to iBeacons as BLE makes no sense.
Quote:
And BLE is more widely deployed, even on Android.

Lots of things are more widely deployed than other things but that doesn't mean their technology shouldn't ever be adopted.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzypaws View Post

BLE may be more widely deployed in phones but NFC is far more widely deployed in actual payment kiosks in the wild.

As I acknowledged in my original post though I haven't checked the specs of the most popular terminals for BLE compatibility.
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) BT doesn't encapsulate everything that that NFC offers. Not even close. They are both used for communication but different types of communication.

2) iBeacons doesn't equate to BLE. iBeacons simply use BLE. Referring to iBeacons as BLE makes no sense.
Lots of things are more widely deployed than other things but that doesn't mean their technology shouldn't ever be adopted.

1). Possibly not though we were focussing on POS in this forum and here iBeacon has more to offer than NFC which is limited to "Near".

2) Never said it did, never referred to BLE as iBeacon. Currently, iBeacon is built on BLE.

iBeacon is just a software update for Android users...oh, I see your point.
Edited by McDave - 9/7/14 at 2:16pm
Android proves (as Windows & VHS did before it) that if you want to control people, give us choices and the belief we're capable of making them. We're all 'living' the American dream.
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