Apple could expand NFC capabilities beyond Apple Pay in iOS 11

Posted:
in iPhone
An Apple developer document published this week suggests iOS 11 will open up near-field communications hardware in iPhone 7, and presumably future iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch models, beyond Apple Pay.




As outlined in a developer resource published after Monday's Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, and later spotted by Engadget, Apple's next-generation mobile operating system will include a "Core NFC" framework for accessing certain high-level aspects of existing and future NFC hardware.

More specifically, developers will be able to build apps that can read NFC tags compatible with the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF). Apple notes NFC NDEF tag reading is supported on iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices.

"Your app can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum," the document says.

The document's language suggests iOS 11 will extend the NFC capabilities of Apple devices far beyond Apple Pay, which is currently limited to contactless transactions and digital ticket management. Apple has restricted third-party access to NFC hardware since it first incorporated the technology in its portable product lineup with iPhone 6 in 2014. The company even limits its own use case to the Wallet app, a decision made to protect consumers from nefarious actors.

Apple hinted at an expansion of NFC capabilities yesterday when VP of Technology Kevin Lynch announced watchOS 4. When the new operating system drops this fall, Apple Watch users will be able to interface with gym equipment by tapping their device on an NFC reader, which subsequently opens a two-way wireless communication session for transferring information like heart rate and equipment speed and angle.

While the details have yet to be fleshed out, the technology promises to make iOS and watchOS devices more relevant in a growing ecosystem of connected devices.
gregoriusm

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Isn't the Apple Watch able to open rooms at Starwood Hotels?
  • Reply 2 of 20
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,843member
    Does this mean Apple is bowing to the Australian banks? I hope it only means none banking/purchasing use of NFC.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 291member
    Isn't the Apple Watch able to open rooms at Starwood Hotels?

    Yes it can, but I believe that is done over Bluetooth similar to how some door locks like Kevo work.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 291member
    rob53 said:
    Does this mean Apple is bowing to the Australian banks? I hope it only means none banking/purchasing use of NFC.

    I wondered the same thing at first. But from what I read in the article I think the access to NFC will be fairly limited.

    "Your app can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum," the document says.

    That doesn't sound like it will enable the banks to create their own mobile payment solutions that leverage of the iPhones NFC.
    chiarepressthis
  • Reply 5 of 20
    anomeanome Posts: 941member
    lolliver said:
    rob53 said:
    Does this mean Apple is bowing to the Australian banks? I hope it only means none banking/purchasing use of NFC.

    I wondered the same thing at first. But from what I read in the article I think the access to NFC will be fairly limited.

    "Your app can read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it. For example, your app might give users information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum," the document says.

    That doesn't sound like it will enable the banks to create their own mobile payment solutions that leverage of the iPhones NFC.
    I hope not, but I do worry that openung it up for non-banking purposes might be interpreted as trying to maintain unreasonable control on banking.

    I also kind of see how this could allow other banking solutions, which I don't think is an especially good thing. Presumably if someone writes an app that uses the NFC for their own payment system, it will be in breach of the Ts&Cs of the App Store, but that won't necessarily stop them. (Such an app wouldn't need to use TouchID, even, it just needs to exchange tokens with the reader. Not using the Apple Pay infrastructure, though, would be much less secure.)

    One benefit I can see is that it will allow public transport infrastructure (for example) to use it for ticketing without having to send each transaction through the banking infrastructure. You load up your Oyster/Clipper/MetroCard/MyWay using Apple Pay in the app, and then when you wave your phone at the reader, it deducts from that balance. It would save them the costs of multiple Credit Card Transactions. How the phone/reader work out which account to record it against is less clear. You might need to load the app, or maybe it involves slightly more complicated handshaking between terminal and phone. It's a thought, at any rate.
    lollivertokyojimurepressthis
  • Reply 6 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,332moderator
    Apple is a platform building monster.  They treat everything as a platform, initially closed for internal use but eventually opened in intelligent and controlled ways to leverage their developer community, which ultimately cements the platform as an integral part of an interconnected and growing ecosystem.

    MacOS
    iOS
    iOS+ (on iPad)
    CarPlay
    Siri
    ApplePay
    Watch OS
    TVOS
    Apple Music
    Maps
    HomeKit
    HealthKit
    Metal
    Airplay
    Machine Learning
    AFS (Apple File System)
    ARKit
    NFC

    Apple is leveraging them all to create capabilities no other vendor will be able to beat, or even fast-follow because they haven't done the groundwork.

    lolliverdouglas baileyDonvermowatto_cobrachiacalirepressthisicoco3
  • Reply 7 of 20
    lolliverlolliver Posts: 291member
    anome said:
    One benefit I can see is that it will allow public transport infrastructure (for example) to use it for ticketing without having to send each transaction through the banking infrastructure. You load up your Oyster/Clipper/MetroCard/MyWay using Apple Pay in the app, and then when you wave your phone at the reader, it deducts from that balance. It would save them the costs of multiple Credit Card Transactions. How the phone/reader work out which account to record it against is less clear. You might need to load the app, or maybe it involves slightly more complicated handshaking between terminal and phone. It's a thought, at any rate.
    Yes, hopefully opening up NFC will be to allow for things like public transport, not mobile payments. As you've said though some banks would be willing to create their own payment solutions even without access to touch ID or the secure enclave. There are already android banking apps out there that operate as tap & pay solutions without any real security measures.
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 8 of 20
    anomeanome Posts: 941member
    lolliver said:
    anome said:
    One benefit I can see is that it will allow public transport infrastructure (for example) to use it for ticketing without having to send each transaction through the banking infrastructure. You load up your Oyster/Clipper/MetroCard/MyWay using Apple Pay in the app, and then when you wave your phone at the reader, it deducts from that balance. It would save them the costs of multiple Credit Card Transactions. How the phone/reader work out which account to record it against is less clear. You might need to load the app, or maybe it involves slightly more complicated handshaking between terminal and phone. It's a thought, at any rate.
    Yes, hopefully opening up NFC will be to allow for things like public transport, not mobile payments. As you've said though some banks would be willing to create their own payment solutions even without access to touch ID or the secure enclave. There are already android banking apps out there that operate as tap & pay solutions without any real security measures.
    And that's why Apple should continue to resist the Australian banks demands. The people who will suffer when such insecure solutions are hacked will be the users. Plus it will undoubtedly generate negative publicity for Apple despite not having anything to do with it.

    (666 posts! I should quit now, but  I probably won't.)
    lolliverchiabshankentropysrepressthis
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    Would love be to be able to use my Apple Watch to pay for a bus ticket. (The London Underground is already covered). 

    Nefarious Actor


    StrangeDaysrepressthisKenster999
  • Reply 10 of 20
    There's no way this is Apple bowing to the pressure of Australian banks. This would always have been intended by Apple. As Radarthekat said, they first keep tight control of new features and then they slowly open them up in a safe way. 

    I'm laughing at those banks that didn't get on board. The new Person to Person Apple Pay payments are received to an 'Apple Pay Cash Card' which stores the value received. You can then send that value on to someone else or spend it using Apple Pay or withdraw it too your bank account. So from my understanding it works like a digital pre-paid Visa debit card. This will open up Apple Pay to all Apple users regardless of whether their bank is on board or not. :)
    edited June 2017 watto_cobrabshankentropyscaliStrangeDaysbeowulfschmidtrepressthisicoco3
  • Reply 11 of 20
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 801member
    rob53 said:
    Does this mean Apple is bowing to the Australian banks? I hope it only means none banking/purchasing use of NFC.
    I'm sure they will open up to everyone the banks wants to provide a solution to before they let other payment forms on the system.
    Store loyality cards and transport tickets would pretty much kill any case the banks have.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    There's no way this is Apple bowing to the pressure of Australian banks. This would always have been intended by Apple. As Radarthekat said, they first keep tight control of new features and then they slowly open them up in a safe way. 

    I'm laughing at those banks that didn't get on board. The new Person to Person Apple Pay payments are received to an 'Apple Pay Cash Card' which stores the value received. You can then send that value on to someone else or spend it using Apple Pay or withdraw it too your bank account. So from my understanding it works like a digital pre-paid Visa debit card. This will open up Apple Pay to all Apple users regardless of whether their bank is on board or not. :)
    Wow.

    The first step towards The Apple Bank. 
    watto_cobrabshankcaliicoco3
  • Reply 13 of 20
    croprcropr Posts: 759member
    lolliver said:
    anome said:
    One benefit I can see is that it will allow public transport infrastructure (for example) to use it for ticketing without having to send each transaction through the banking infrastructure. You load up your Oyster/Clipper/MetroCard/MyWay using Apple Pay in the app, and then when you wave your phone at the reader, it deducts from that balance. It would save them the costs of multiple Credit Card Transactions. How the phone/reader work out which account to record it against is less clear. You might need to load the app, or maybe it involves slightly more complicated handshaking between terminal and phone. It's a thought, at any rate.
    Yes, hopefully opening up NFC will be to allow for things like public transport, not mobile payments. As you've said though some banks would be willing to create their own payment solutions even without access to touch ID or the secure enclave. There are already android banking apps out there that operate as tap & pay solutions without any real security measures.
    Technically there is no difference at all between a public transport ticket and a bank payment, meaning that a tchnology provider (like Apple is in this case) cannot allow the former and block the latter.  In both cases there is a transaction of a electronic item between two parties.  Whether this electronic item represents a ticket or a payment is just an implementation detail,  the end result is that some value is transferred form one person to another.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    chiachia Posts: 679member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Would love be to be able to use my Apple Watch to pay for a bus ticket. (The London Underground is already covered).
    Eh? Apple Pay works on the London Buses as well as London Underground. It works in all of London's transport, be it bus, underground, rail, tram, taxi, OverGround, DLR, even on the river bus.  I've used my Apple Watch's Apple Pay on the bus too numerous times to remember. 
  • Reply 15 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 999member
    chia said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Would love be to be able to use my Apple Watch to pay for a bus ticket. (The London Underground is already covered).
    Eh? Apple Pay works on the London Buses as well as London Underground. It works in all of London's transport, be it bus, underground, rail, tram, taxi, OverGround, DLR, even on the river bus.  I've used my Apple Watch's Apple Pay on the bus too numerous times to remember. 
    In those circumstances it is just the apple pay recognised credit card being processed.  This is talking abut actually interacting with the public transport system, which you might only pay monthly, or weekly.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    If it only can read tags, will it work with commuting cards? I'm by no means and expert in these things, but shouldn't the card also be able to SEND information? I really do hope they will allow it to work with the Stockholm Metro system. 
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Nefarious actors... a dodgy bunch 
  • Reply 18 of 20
    croprcropr Posts: 759member
    chia said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Would love be to be able to use my Apple Watch to pay for a bus ticket. (The London Underground is already covered).
    Eh? Apple Pay works on the London Buses as well as London Underground. It works in all of London's transport, be it bus, underground, rail, tram, taxi, OverGround, DLR, even on the river bus.  I've used my Apple Watch's Apple Pay on the bus too numerous times to remember. 
    Real ticket automation means: when you buy the ticket, it is stored on your iPhone or Apple Watch and that when you pass the gate, the gate automatically opens.
     
    In the Netherlands the public transport sector launched last month such a system for Android.  They wanted to support iPhone as well but Apple refused to open the NFC, which is of course a hard requirement to make a working solution on a iPhones.   Maybe such projects made Apple realize that it should make its technology more open
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    chia said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Would love be to be able to use my Apple Watch to pay for a bus ticket. (The London Underground is already covered).
    Eh? Apple Pay works on the London Buses as well as London Underground. It works in all of London's transport, be it bus, underground, rail, tram, taxi, OverGround, DLR, even on the river bus.  I've used my Apple Watch's Apple Pay on the bus too numerous times to remember. 
    Yeah, sorry I meant my local bus service…
  • Reply 20 of 20
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,409member
    cropr said:
    chia said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Would love be to be able to use my Apple Watch to pay for a bus ticket. (The London Underground is already covered).
    Eh? Apple Pay works on the London Buses as well as London Underground. It works in all of London's transport, be it bus, underground, rail, tram, taxi, OverGround, DLR, even on the river bus.  I've used my Apple Watch's Apple Pay on the bus too numerous times to remember. 
    Real ticket automation means: when you buy the ticket, it is stored on your iPhone or Apple Watch and that when you pass the gate, the gate automatically opens.
     
    In the Netherlands the public transport sector launched last month such a system for Android.  They wanted to support iPhone as well but Apple refused to open the NFC, which is of course a hard requirement to make a working solution on a iPhones.   Maybe such projects made Apple realize that it should make its technology more open
    I bet they planned it all along but couldn't say anything until they were ready to announce.  If they had told them to just wait a bit, the rumor mills would have been flying at full speed.
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