Apple's 'iPhone 6' to supposedly incorporate NFC, new secure enclave for mobile payments

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2014
Building on rumors that Apple will release an iOS-based mobile payments solution with its next-generation "iPhone 6," the well-connected John Gruber claims the new handset will feature NFC hardware and a new secure enclave to store credit card information.

Purported 'iPhone 6' and iPhone 5s logic boards compared. | Source: Nowhereelse.fr


In a missive posted to his Daring Fireball blog, Gruber says Apple's upcoming iPhone lineup will not only sport near-field communication (NFC) hardware for facilitating on-the-go payments, but will boast a specially-designed security "enclave" for storing payment credentials.
I've been working on a new joke -- about NFC and a new secure enclave where you can store your credit cards, so you can pay for things at brick and mortar retail stores just by taking out your iPhone, but only if it's one of the new iPhones -- but no one seems to get my sense of humor.
The post comes just hours after Wired issued a report framing NFC as "one of the hallmark features" of Apple's next iPhone.

Supposedly backing up these rumors are purported "iPhone 6" schematics and component "leaks" that suggest support for an NFC-compliant chip.

NFC has for years been rumored for inclusion in Apple's iPhone, but the technology has yet to show up in a production model. With the iPhone 5, for example, industry watchers jumped on a batch of photos revealing an unknown component attached to the phone's logic board, claiming it was clear evidence of NFC support. The part turned out to be a high-resolution ear speaker.

Apple is experimenting with NFC, as can be seen in a multitude of patents, but as SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said in a 2012 interview, the company is more concerned about user experience than shoehorning in the latest tech just because it can. At the time, Schiller said Passbook covered the bases for consumers. It should be noted, however, that the payments landscape is quickly changing.

As for the secure enclave, Apple currently employs a similar component in the iPhone 5s to store data referenced by the Touch ID fingerprint recognition system. According to a security white paper published in February, the enclave is built into Apple's A7 SoC and comes complete with its own secure boot sequence and software update mechanism. Apple says the component is responsible for "all cryptographic operations for Data Protection key management and maintains the integrity of Data Protection even if the kernel has been compromised."

For clarification, Gruber's comments about a "new joke" and "sense of humor" are allusions to a report from Re/code's John Paczkowski, who earlier Thursday cited sources as saying Apple would unveil its long-awaited "iWatch" wearable at its upcoming Sept. 9 special event.

In August, Gruber made a casual remark about Apple's "wrist wearable thing," saying it would launch in September, only to later claim the comment was made in jest. Paczkowski referenced the "joke" in his most recent report.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    OMG. Really AI? "Clarification" or not, Gruber was totally joking here.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 424member
    So what evidence is there for a *new* enclave for credit card information? And why is an enclave needed at all? Seems to me that the proper place for credit card information is where Apple already stores credit card information - on its servers! Think about it: why would you store your credit cards on an enclave on the iPhone when you might want to be paying with the same credit cards while you're on a Mac or on an iPad? It makes no sense. A more practical approach is for you to pay with a credit card of your choice *after* you authenticated with TouchID.

    Besides - if Apple wants to get into the mobile payment arena, why would it exclude the 500 million iOS devices already out there and only allow mobile payments via the new devices. Again, it makes no sense.

    Even if the rumor is from Gruber.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    I'm curious to see where the NFC receiver will be on the iphone 6. the whole thing is in metal...there are very few potential places left?
  • Reply 4 of 47
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    [B]@tjwolf,[/B] Maybe the secure enclave on the iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) involves just the data that connects the Touch ID to the credit card data that Apple also already stores on its servers.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    sticknick wrote: »
    OMG. Really AI? "Clarification" or not, Gruber was totally joking here.

    If you read it in context on his site it is clear he is not joking. Even clearer if you have followed his take on these rumors for a while...
  • Reply 6 of 47

    WTF. John Gruber is now "well-connected" too?

    That gets him into the club with Ming.

  • Reply 7 of 47
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    tjwolf wrote: »
    So what evidence is there for a *new* enclave for credit card information? And why is an enclave needed at all? Seems to me that the proper place for credit card information is where Apple already stores credit card information - on its servers! Think about it: why would you store your credit cards on an enclave on the iPhone when you might want to be paying with the same credit cards while you're on a Mac or on an iPad? It makes no sense. A more practical approach is for you to pay with a credit card of your choice *after* you authenticated with TouchID.

    Besides - if Apple wants to get into the mobile payment arena, why would it exclude the 500 million iOS devices already out there and only allow mobile payments via the new devices. Again, it makes no sense.

    Even if the rumor is from Gruber.

    Because any payment system that relies on your phones Internet connection is doomed to fail. A phone with a secure enclave can be used just like a chipped card.
  • Reply 8 of 47
    truffol wrote: »
    I'm curious to see where the NFC receiver will be on the iphone 6. the whole thing is in metal...there are very few potential places left?

    This is where the Apple logo cutout may come into play. I don't have a clue if they will have NFC or not, but they could put the antenea under the Apple logo. It gives a nice target for aligning to a reader. We will see soon enough.
  • Reply 9 of 47
    People didn't get the first joke and are missing it again now. Gruber is not saying NFC will be in the next iPhone. He is joking that he doesn't know one way or the other, just like he wasn't predicting anything with his last joke.

    Sigh... People.
  • Reply 10 of 47
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 424member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wovel View Post





    Because any payment system that relies on your phones Internet connection is doomed to fail. A phone with a secure enclave can be used just like a chipped card.



    Hm, I've been paying my iTunes and Starbucks purchases this way for a few years now - no doom yet!  Doing most of my banking via the smartphone just as well - no trouble either!  Just telling me that such a thing is doomed to fail doesn't convince me.

     

    But your second point may be a good one: Apple had been rumored to be in negotiations with credit card companies - perhaps with NFC plus the enclave, they're going to emulate a chipped card.....but where would iPhone users make use of it?  Chipped cards are common in Europe but not in the U.S.  And even in Europe, how would an iPhone emulate a chipped card?  I don't think the sales terminals there use NFC to communicate with the card.  It sounds a bit nebulous to me.

  • Reply 11 of 47

    Between now and Sept 9, there will be 17 more articles with headlines just like this one.

  • Reply 12 of 47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wovel View Post





    Because any payment system that relies on your phones Internet connection is doomed to fail. A phone with a secure enclave can be used just like a chipped card.

     

    And a phone that acts just like a chip card is doomed to fail. If the only thing my phone can do is act like a chip card, then what incentive is there for me to use it instead of my chip cards I already have?

     

    Your phones data connection can be just as secure as any other method of transmission. Security lies in the type of data you send, not the medium it's travelling over. CC numbers and personal information can be replaced by tokens and ID numbers that are useless to thieves snooping the airwaves.

  • Reply 13 of 47
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Truffol View Post



    I'm curious to see where the NFC receiver will be on the iphone 6. the whole thing is in metal...there are very few potential places left?

     

     

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post





    This is where the Apple logo cutout may come into play. I don't have a clue if they will have NFC or not, but they could put the antenea under the Apple logo. It gives a nice target for aligning to a reader. We will see soon enough.

     

    Every leak we've seen point to the logo being made of metal which would block radio frequencies. And even if it was made of a radio-transparent material, traditional NFC inductors require a larger surface than the Apple logo on the iPhone 6 and can't be made smaller, due to the fundamental nature of wavelengths. 

     

     

     

    But Apple recently applied for a patent called "Shared Antenna Structures for Near-Field Communications and Non-Near-Field Communications Circuitry" which uses the top and bottom cell antennas to create an NFC inductor. To me it's quite obvious that this is what they'll do.

     

    I wish Apple news sites would do a little more investigative journalism and make an article out of this. (Appleinsider, here's your chance...)

     

     

  • Reply 14 of 47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Phone-UI-Guy View Post





    This is where the Apple logo cutout may come into play. I don't have a clue if they will have NFC or not, but they could put the antenea under the Apple logo. It gives a nice target for aligning to a reader. We will see soon enough.



    Could it be our eyes deceive us and the case is actually molded plastic? Hmm

    C'mon people. The HTC is metal with? NFC

    Galaxy S5 is plastic with metal inside and? NFC

  • Reply 15 of 47
    I'd like to take Apple Insiders Use of Supposedly and Purported and @#$^#%[email protected](@$()#
  • Reply 16 of 47
    togantogan Posts: 16member
    Give me NFC on an iwatch. To lazy to pull my iphone out of my pocket :)
  • Reply 17 of 47
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Go Faster View Post

     



    Could it be our eyes deceive us and the case is actually molded plastic? Hmm

    C'mon people. The HTC is metal with? NFC

    Galaxy S5 is plastic with metal inside and? NFC


     

    The HTC One NFC inductor is apparently around the camera hole, so I guess what I was saying about the Apple logo being too small may not be totally right. But on the other hand, it seems that the HTC One NFC sensor/inductor is notoriously bad, probably because of this.

  • Reply 18 of 47
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    togan wrote: »
    Give me NFC on an iwatch. To lazy to pull my iphone out of my pocket :)

    I don't want that. It's not like you put your thumb on the screen for Touch ID to authorize a payment and it gets sent. You'd have to move your wrist over the NFC sensor which, if flat on checkout table probably means flipping your wrist over to make the connection. Maybe the magnetic loop would work around the wrist but that's still seems awkward to me.
  • Reply 19 of 47

    Attention-grabbing dudes like John Gruber are really sad pricks.  They know next-to-nothing but are always opening their big yaps and standing on their little soapbox trying to draw a crowd.  If he's got anything to say about mobile payments, he should wait until Apple introduces it on the iPhone.  The rumor-mongers are rather pathetic.

  • Reply 20 of 47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

     

    WTF. John Gruber is now "well-connected" too?

    That gets him into the club with Ming.


    Are you being sarcastic? None of Gruber's little birdies have ever been wrong.

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