iPhone 5 prototypes reportedly supporting NFC

iPhone 5 prototypes reportedly supporting NFC

Some digging around the hardware code dump of iPhone 5 prototypes has revealed that there's an NFC antenna somewhere inside. The near field communications controllers are directly connected to the power management unit according to the code, but as always, there's no saying if the feature will make it to a final release this fall. It's also worth noting that we've heard about an NFC-enabled iPhone since before the 4S, and we can all see how those rumors panned out.

Apple has certainly set the stage for NFC in iOS 6 with Passbook, which in its current state will enable unified mobile ticketing with barcodes. With the addition of NFC, tickets and transactions could be done just by tapping your iPhone 5 on a sensor, as opposed to having the cashier scan your phone. It would be hard to imagine Apple launching a smartphone in the fall without NFC included; even if the standard is far from commonplace for transactions, Apple's support may push retailers and financial institutions to make the leap. Currently retailers are lot more interested in investing in mobile swipe readers like Square and PayPal Here rather than NFC terminals, likely because it enables them to take their business to new areas and compatibility with customers is way less of an issue. Like many of the iOS 6 features at WWDC, NFC is another point where Android has managed to outpace the iPhone, but it's still early enough in the mobile transactions game that Apple hasn't really missed out on any of the action.

Speaking of which, Apple would be in a fine position to take a cut of every NFC payment, especially if they force app developers to plug into the Passbook app in order to access the antenna. Have you guys ever found yourself itching for NFC in your iPhone? Has Android really had much of a leg-up by having the function this long? What are the odds that Apple will include NFC in the iPhone 5?

Source: 9to5Mac

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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iPhone 5 prototypes reportedly supporting NFC

26 Comments

I think that Apple tipped their hand when they showed off Passport. That is an application that screams NFC. Remember, one of the cards in the demo was for Apple. No doubt that they could set off a firestorm by simply implementing NFC at Apple Stores and on their website from a Mac-based NFC reader or NFC embedded in a Mac. Once the world sees what Apple does with the technology for its own benefit others will want in and will forget about a lot of the long standing objections because there will suddenly be an install base to justify the business case/expense of converting to NFC.

I'm excited by this possibility but in my personal experience I have NEVER (not even once) seen someone pay with NFC. I'm sure other people's experiences differ. I see these NFC things at McDonald's and a few other places but never see them used. Maybe the iPhone will be the difference that will drive usage (at least where I live).

Maybe in your area. Most people here in Miami do use the NFC with blink credit cards (chase). I use it all the time. And I love it. Plus it's super cool to just press ur card against the reader and ride out. =p

I think credit and debit cards will be added to passbook when they unveil NFC at the iPhone event.

The problem is the carriers. Verizon T-Mobile and at&t would likely block it like they do Google wallet. Even sprint is working on their own wallet.

I agree that the carriers would and will be an obstacle, however Apple has proven time and again they simply get things done. No support, no iPhone on your network. The volume of iPhones sold in the US alone is enough to push the carriers to get on board.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile will not block this. They collectively own Isis, which is a Visa/Master Card-type clearing house for mobile payments. So long as Apple is open to working with Isis over and above an Apple ID I think that the telco's will allow this.

OMG. A bite of my purchase going to Apple, Verizon, AND the bank? That'll have zero impact on the number of places that will accept NFC payments.

Would I welcome it? Absolutely. Is it a deal maker/breaker? Absolutely not.
And maybe someone can answer this for me: would you be able to tie ANY debit/credit card to a phone with NFC capabilities, or would it have to be a card that has a PayPass chip in it? My card does not work as a PayPass card, so this feature COULD be useless to me, essentially.

Wonder how this will work. It could be linked to your iTunes account, thus, that $100 iTunes gift card you get for Christmas can buy you anything in an Apple Store.

I'm not interested in it. Maybe later. It seems like something else to manage or worry about being insecure.

Would be a nice to have however I can not see myself using NFC for payments at the grocery store or gas station. Call me old fashioned!

It's only a matter of time. NFC will explode once Apple does it and does it right. Google Wallet has been out for over a year with barely any inroads made. Can barely GW anywhere.
I hope we see NFC in iPhone 5!

I've only seen one Google Wallet terminal, at a local Peet's Coffee shop. Never even seen one person use it after hours and hours of sitting there working (running Xcode on Mountain Lion on my MacBook Pro, of course.) And none of the Peet's baristas can remember anyone using GW.
I have used United Airlines' app to get on a flight though. Just held up the app showing my QR code to a scanner and walked on board. That's the kind of thing Passbook will immediately be able to do. It will replace apps like the UAL app. And soon you wouldn't even need to turn your iPhone on to use Passbook, if the NFC feature does make it into this year's iPhone.

Re: "The near field communications controllers are directly connected to the power management unit according to the code..."
Interesting. The PMU connection means that the NFC sensor could automatically wake up the iPhone to handle transactions. No need to turn it on first. Very convenient.

I have used google wallet in the past on my android. While it works it is hardly an every day use case for me. I can use it at local gas stations and McDonald's and even Footlocker here has a reader. To me it seems more a novelty than anything and when you do try an use it the cashier is usually so confused as to what to do that ya might as well pull out te credit card!

The OS7 Blackberry devices have NFC capabilities and with NFC you can go beyond using it as another payment source. For instance, I use NFC to make smart tags that I can place anywhere around my home, car, office, etc. I use the smart tags to turn on my bluetooth when I enter my car, just swipe my phone across the tag and my bluetooth is enabled. When I get home, I have a smart tag in my garage that is set up to turn on wifi, just tap my phone...I have sent photos, files, etc using NFC with other NFC devices...it is pretty cool what it can do...I just think that the full capabilities of NFC has not been showcased very well, but think it will be on all phones eventually.

I hope they have a setting to turn it off. It currently doesn't look like something I would use, but maybe sometime in the future.

I like many of the NFC application uses but not a wallet style function. I don't want that. I'd prefer not having it at all if that's it's main use. Also makes your iPhone even more of a target for theft. Phone+wallet in one swipe. Wonder how they will control who does the swiping.

I had a NFC dongle on my keychain that was only good at on brand of gas station. I used it for a while, but not anymore. Cash is still my preferred method, but I do have debit cards too. I'm not opposed to NFC, but concerned about implementation and security.

You mean like the Samsunng phones that already use that feature. It seems as if Apple is just catching up to the competition everytime they update our phones. Bought the 4s thinking I had the latest greatest. Boy was I wrong. Competition has always spurred innovation. So come on Apple, make me want to buy the next generation because it is truly ground breaking new tech and not just because I like Apple. Oh, to all the people who say a bigger screen is the wrong direction. If we had the bigger screens first or more choices of screens we'd be the one's saying bigger is better. We have no other choices. I wish Apple made multiple models to choose from. Just my 2 cent rant!

There is got to be an iOS app on Passbook Exchange, or something like that, remember Facebook Exchange and Phonebook Exchange?

When I visited singapore they have a commuter card that uses NFC... They use it from buses to trains to taxis. Some stores even accept it as form of payment. It makes commuting easier carrying only one card... Imaging only carrying your phone instead of a bunch of cards... The possibilitie are endless and the benefit mare than outways the cost...