CultofMac has received a tip from an anonymous source that claims Apple might be getting ready to go all in on near-field communication (NFC), with next June's iPhone 5 potentially leading the way:
“The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data,” said our source, who asked to remain anonymous. “The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own — like you’re actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac....Address book would show their contacts, and the user would have full access to their information in the same manner they would if they were working from home. This same behavior extends to even showing the same desktop picture, mouse and keyboard settings, and would eventually extend to software licenses and passwords for websites such as Facebook....When a person walks away with their iPhone and away from the communication link with the Mac, the original settings of the Mac would be restored. All communications and storage of passwords stays on the user’s iPhone, leaving nothing stored on the computer....This functionality is extended to access a user’s home folder, which will be stored and accessed either through storage on MobileMe or by using the Back to My Mac feature to connect to the user’s home folder.”
The source also states that this technology has been toyed with by Apple for quite a while and it may never see the light of day. They also note that transfer speeds are not that great, and may depend on wifi or bluetooth after the initial handshake with the device.
NFC technology has been picking up speed in Asia but has yet to really see the light of day in the US. Lenovo offers this option in a few of their ThinkPads but NFC has yet to gain a foothold. If Apple adopts it, that may change.
NFC basically allows users to utilize their device as an electronic passport. Your iPhone would store your personal settings, bookmarks, keychain passwords, and desktop settings. When you're in range of an NFC compatible Mac or other device, it could essentially turn that Mac into your desktop. Similar to remote desktop. The difference is that you don't have to initiate a login or store local data. If you walk out of range of the Mac or NFC compatible device, your information would no longer be accessible. The device would simply go back to its previous state and no traces of your information would be stores locally on the Mac or device.
Is this a feature you guys think would be useful to you?