No NFC bound for next generation iPhone

While near-field communications (NFC), a type of radio typically used to provide near-instant mobile transaction processing, has been rumored for the iPhone for years now, most recently the upcoming iPhone 5, those rumors may once again fail to pan out come the expected September 12 Apple event. Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech point at parts leaks to date, namely the new metal back plate, as an obvious piece of evidence against NFC:

Given the primarily metal backside of the new iPhone, it’s highly unlikely that NFC is in the cards for this generation. In fact, given the very little space at top and bottom dedicated to those glass RF windows, you can almost entirely rule it out.

And Jim Dalymple of The Loop adds in his trademark, consistently reliable:


Apple has already begun to experiment with mobile payments in the Apple Retail Store without NFC, and other uses for NFC, like direct data transfer, could still be handled over Bluetooth if that's something Apple's truly interested in exploring at this point.

Passbook, while an obvious front-end to an Apple wallet proper, is being introduced as a voucher and ticket repository in iOS 6, and nothing more.

Apple is a feature, not technology, driven company. If they decide to roll out mobile payments, they may or may not need NFC, and if they do, they'll include it under the covers and all we'll see is an ad showing Santa shopping at JC Penny just before the holidays.

Either way, if you were waiting on an NFC chip for the iPhone, it looks like you'll have to keep waiting.

Source: AnandTech, The Loop

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

No NFC bound for next generation iPhone


I coul not possibly care less about NFC at this time, and in all honesty, NFC payments scare me. I barely even use my credit cards unless I absolutely have to. So yea, I can't for the foreseeable future think that I'll end up caring much about NFC. I don't ever remember seeing any NFC payment locations in my area either. The iPhone wasn't first to 3G or LTE, so Apple is probably going to stay back until it sees a good reason to do NFC, and also when the tech will be profitable.

In an age where most people use cards instead of money and where people are now moving on to the next thing *after* cards, you are still clinging to shekels and paper money? Yikes!

I haven't used "money" for years except for coin operated machines and a few dodgy corner stores where you wouldn't want to risk your card info. There are no advantages to paper money and quite a few downsides.

I don't think that's what he was saying. He didn't care about NFC, not electronic payments. I handle things like Starbucks without NFC (granted, they needed a different scanner), but I can see NFC being pushed aside by a method that can work visually or via bluetooth (which both use existing phone equipment), and not have to stick a new chip in the phone. Keep in mind that the retailer still needs an NFC reader to take payments.

How about businesses that don't take cards (i.e. Amex, etc)? Or how about purchases under a certain $ amt? The future is coming but we're along way to a ubiquitous, wireless payment system.

I wonder how much Apple is avoiding NFC as a tactic to undermine Android ecosystem. If iOS never adopts it, it'll never take off mainstream...which would ultimately sabotage the efforts of most Android handset OEMs, and Google Wallet, in preventing/delaying widespread POS adoption of NFC readers.

I doubt it. Apple is not the king of everything. If this is truly their tactic and Google does prove to do it on it's own, Google Payments will have the name while Apple plays catchup. Not very smart.

I never saw this as worth having anyways or in any way enhancing the iphone. Who really cares about using an iphone to make purchases in stores? I use mine to make purchases online to avoid paying at stores.

Even though I think it'll be a cool feature, I would be very angry if NFC was the "one more thing..." Lets save it for something cool that we don't know about yet!

Hmm. I don't really care about NFC payments, but the thought of using NFC to trigger certain settings (such as 'Office' settings or 'Bedtime' settings) is something I could see as being useful. Either way, I dont think its a deal killer if its not there, but it might be nice.

NFC on a iPod nano watch with blue tooth. That would work for me. I agree NFC payment is not mainstream yet anyways.

OK. The mystery component right behind the upper back glass section of the 2012 iPhone isn't an NFC chip. But then what is it? What other type of component would need to be in a radio-transparent glass window on the "primarily metal backside" of an iPhone?

Most of you guys are trying to convince yourselves that you do not need NFC. I tell you what its awesome and I am currently using it. I was at Macy's a few days back and paid my merchandise with my phone. It was fast, easy, and real cool. Don't knock it because NFC may or may not be on the New iPhone.

The funny thing is most of the ignorant comments on here are about payments where NFC you can do a lot more with. At least that's the way I use it on my Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus.

It makes me happy that the iPhone 5 won't get it. That way I can hold on to my 4S for another year.

I can already see how NFC could be a great kicker for the iPhone 5S in the fall of 2013.

Apple will sell tons of iPhone 5s just because of the "cool", new form factor and larger screen. They'll need something "Siri-like" next year to keep it appealing.

The same assumption can be made about the iPhone's cellular radios. Yet, they use they use an external antenna to accomplish the job. Whose to say that they don't use it for NFC as well? It doesn't take much of an antenna for an NFC chip to work. I have a transit card from the transit authority in Salt Lake City that has an NFC chip and the antenna runs around the perimeter of the card under the plastic.

"Apple is a feature, not technology, driven company"

Maybe that's why the latest 'hardware leaks' make the new iPhone look like nothing more than a taller iPhone 4. How long do they think 'features' will drive their success if they can't keep up with the technology AND features of the competitors?? Oh right... litigate.

I really hope the new iPhone is more drastic than these supposed leaks.

So true. But most people that use iPhones are not techie by an means. That's why I see mostly teenagers, old people and girls (who generally are not interested in technology and more about style). The iPhone will sell because it is a "fashionable" accessory to simple minded people.

If I buy something, I like to compare the price. If the price is the same, I like to compare on what features it has. Most people stop at the little fruit logo in the back and are immediately sold. Someone with a brain looks deeper than that.

Just my two cents.

Some people TRUST the quality of the product just by looking at the little fruit in the back of the product. And that's something android devices won't have.

You and I both know that the little fruit on the back is mostly used for fashion. Why else do case manufactures have a cut out for the little fruit logo? People want it to be shown for a reason. They are not doing it to advertise for Apple. They are doing it to be fashionable.

I don't know if I agree with your assessment.
Sounds like the opinion of a pissy Android fanboy, desperately reaching for anything to make himself feel superior to others.

To some, the iPhone is probably a fashion accessory, same with the Galaxy - why do you think Samsung tried so hard to make it pretty.

I'm a techie. I have an iPhone. Your point is invalid.

I don't really care about Apple vs Google, it's a fucking phone. It lets me do phone stuff.

I can do all of the things on this iPhone that you can do on that Android, which, judging by the intellectual caliber of your post, is likely limited to throwing birds at pigs and monkeys.

There's an app for that.

Actually I would call you a hipster or a wannabe techie. Why do you think you are a "techie"?

I don't care about Apple vs Google. I always said let the girls, hipsters and old people use the iProducts and everyone else will use Android.

So many people have already posted on on how Jelly Bean is much better than that Garbage Apple calls an upgrade for you mindless idiots. But hey, Apple said it so it must be true. You must follow or you will be kicked out of your hipster club otherwise.

1) You can't set default applications on an iPhone. SO you are stuck with that Garbage Map that Apple gave.
2) I don't need an App to send a PowerPoint Presentation. I have a real file manager Apple doesn't.
3) I don't have to wait for a special big event by Apple for the next big "innovation" of what new social network is integrated to my phone. Android allows you to share to any app. Always been a feature. Bird brains ooooo and ahh over this when Apple integrates ONE app.
4) Android has a visible file system. This is what allows for points 2 and 3. Apple is closed, again just like the mindless users. Tiny bubble world I call it. Describes Apple and your view.
5) Pen and Mouse support. Android has support for that, Apple doesn't it. They give you Bluetooth support for Keyboard only. Oh well I guess it will be one of those Mind-blowing features you idiots will go crazy for in the future.
6) NFC. Not just for payments on the go but also for wireless file transfers between phones and great use for setting toggles.
7) Setting in iOS buried to deep. So you actually have to go through a hoop just to toggle WiFi / Bluetooth / GPS on and off? With Android, it is just 1 easy step. Cute isn't it?
8) Google Now 10X better than Siri. You see Google Now is predictive where as Siri you have cute Pixar character. That is all!
9) Larger displays and better resolution.
10) Wireless charging.
11) Widgets
12) Custom 3rd Party Keyboards
13) Photosphere. You guys went crazy over Panoramic photos a feature that existed in Android phones natively first. Well how about having a 360 degree photo?

I can take a stab at what you are going to say "I don't need any of those features" It's what a typical Apple Zombie, Non techie person would say.

Looking forward to your mediocre response.

1) The OS is modular, what good are default applications? Install what you want, use what you need.

2) I can press a button and beam a Keynote presentation to an Apple TV.

3) See 1.

4) you do not understand technology. While you may need file system access, 90% of users should be kept as far away from the file system as possible. They shouldn't even know what a file system is. Apple hides it, as does the new Windows UI. Tech is complicated.

5) A mouse on a touchscreen phone... I'd prefer a wireless Laserdisc changer.

6) you're finally right about something, congratulations buddy! I guess even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut. The 5 didn't have NFC, so I didn't upgrade. If th 5S does, I will, or I'll switch to Windows, or Android, doesn't matter, just want NFC.

7) Why would I want to turn off WIFI, bluetooth, or GPS? It's called user-experience - bury the stuff people don't need. If you need constant access to your settings, you're doing it wrong (or they're doing it wrong).

8) Don't know, don't have Siri, haven't used Google Now.

9) If I wanted a larger phone, I'd buy a tablet. Pixel-density has reached the point that my eyes can no longer see the difference.

10) Wireless charging would be cool.

11) I don't know what that is, but I'm doing fine without it.

12) This is getting stupid. I'm not going to respond to that.

13) See 12.

14) Strawberries.

I was building websites before you'd even heard of the Internet. #hipster

1) let me educate you. Let's say you want to use Google Maps. You have a calendar event in your calendar. How do you open it in Google Maps? A techie would see an issue.

Nobody at work uses Apple TV. Sorry. Never seen use for that at work. We use things called laptops. You know the device you created it in.

A mouse on a tablet dummy.

A file system being exposed is not harmful.

You don't need WiFi or Bluetooth running all the time to say otherwise is idiotic. Oh I am talking to you. never mind.

Strawberries > Apples

LOL building websites. so was I dummy at age 15.


Apple Maps is fine. Beats paper Maps.

People create content on Macs. Macs stream to Apple TVs.

A Mouse on a tablet? What? Why? The Surface Pro, maybe, but that's a desktop OS.

Users break systems. The less of the system a user has access to, the less likely the system will be broken.

You're deflecting. It's a psychological defense mechanism. It's what people do when they're outmatched. Who turns off bluetooth? Battery mongrrs? GPS? Paranoid schizophrenics? "Hold on, let me turn off my wifi" - said noone, ever.

The website thing was a hipster joke, but 10 here. DOS at 6.

Oh so you want to connect an Apple TV to a projector how idiotic. Most business just have projectors. Over weak point.

There is a jailbreak that puts toggles for WiFi Bluetooth etc. I'm sure when Apple. copies that, you will think it is cool.

You used DOS oh bow cool. I'm not that old so congrats to you. I guess I was right. Old folks do like the iPhone. Its simple for when things get to complicated. I guess that's why you don't turn off your WiFi when you are not using it. Do you also keep your blinker on for 5 miles?

The point I'm trying to make is that you're a young arrogant prick that doesn't know shit about anything. I know this because I've been there.

I really don't want to keep responding to your points but it's the only way you'll learn.

Plugging an Apple TV into a projector requires the same amount of effort as plugging a laptop into a projector. Rare occurrence, but if you want to split hairs..

I have absolutely no desire to toggle the wireless hardware in my phone.

I'm 28; just establishing the logic that I've been around this stuff longer than you, and thus, I know more.

So you can keep whining about whatever it is you're whining about, or you can accept the fact that all technology is virtually the same, and there are more important things in the world.

Maybe you should unplug for a while? Commenting anonymously on the Internet installs this delusional sense of power.. Need to purge that ASAP.

Your points were horrible to say the least. Working as a consultant in a technical field, we come by an office for a presentation and the projector is already connected to. You would want to go out of your way and connect a Apple TV. Good luck with that.

Your second weak point, is about the toggles. Sorry nothing more to add about it other than you are completely stupid in this regard. You seriously keep Bluetooth running on that?

Third weak Point. The iPad is not a laptop. OK then why have just a Keyboard connectivity an no mouse support? You have no idea what you are talking about. You are a clueless hipster.

You are no techie by any mean. You are a wannabe nothing more. You know how many people can design a website. You know how may people still and use DOS for certain aspects? That's the best you got?

I design applications. Yes even for Apple. I own an iPad. I own a Galaxy Nexus. I own a Nexus 4. I own an iPhone 4. I own a Chromebook. I own a Macbook Air. I own several Windows Machines. All are needed to do my programming on (Well Technically the Nexus 4 is not an active line but I use it on WiFi).

Apple technology hasn't innovated since its initial release. Android has been innovating much faster than Apple. But hey at least you have a cute fruit on the back of your device.

Keep living in your bubble. Keep thinking you are right. I for one know the difference since I own and use all the products I talk about. I don't shoot my mouth off like an idiot and say why would I need to turn off something that is actively draining my battery?

You should disconnect when you have better responses. SO far you have made none. Now be a good boy and stay quiet.

Don't cry.

I don't go to people to give presentations, they come to me, so I guess I don't have to worry about that one. Apple TV works perfect.

The toggles. They do nothing. BT 4.0 uses very little power; I don't have BT4, but I charge my phone nightly so it's NBD. But you're probably right, I'm probably just a stupid clueless hipster.

What are you talking about. You're throwing around personal attacks in place of things to backup your side of the argument. No shit, the iPad isn't a laptop, so why are you bragging about Androids mouse support?

I'm not a web developer. I still do it when I have to, but I prefer not to. Haven't used DOS in years.. *facepalm*

I'm guessing this is the part where we Internet-brag about what hardware we own.. I don't have much anymore, but I've got an iPhone 4, an iPad 2, a MacBook Air, an iMac, an Apple TV, a Nexus S (mostly used for programming NFC tags), a custom Win 8 box, a custom Xen server, a Rasberry Pi.. I've got an old Jeep Cherokee, and a dog.

Which one of us is shooting their mouth off like an idiot?

Have you developed anything I've heard of? You've got to be better at that than you are at this. Son.

Nobody is crying. But I do see you as butt hurt. You started up this thread. It's been dead. for months now. Let it go and be quiet.

Face plam because I still use DOS? I use it to split DBF files and merge text files that need to be imported into an Oracle spatial database. It's something you wouldn't understand really Don't want to get too technical on you.

My list of stuff for you was to show you I am not a blind idiot who hates on Apple. I know what sucks about it. You completely missed the point. I develop apps for all those OSs for my job.

You need to move on and get a life. This artice is old and you are taking butt hurt to a new level. Move on. Go have sex with your dog or something. Whatever floats your boat really. Just stop rehashing an old article. Nobody is paying attention and I can guarantee you that you will not stop because you are a troll. You need to have the last word. Go ahead, prove me wrong. I DARE YOU!

Don't worry. I won't be gone for long. I'll respond to your next stupid statement. This entertains me. I'll just do it on my own time.

You've almost got it :)

You understand technology from the standpoint of a developer.

I understand technology from the standpoint of a designer.

Want to develop an App for me?

I think the problem with NFC mobile payments is just how poorly its been executed so far I mean it's only available on a select few phones oh and in just a few regions.

This is the kind of thing that bugs me about Apple. Over a 2 year (minimum) ownership period, I think it is reasonable to expect NFC to play a role. But with the new iPhone, we will apparently strike out there.

Come on Apple. Let us buy phones that skate to where the puck will be rather than be stuck where it is today.

I had NFC on Blackberry 9930 before switching to my 4S, and I never ran into a situation where I could use it or had to use it. I don't think I would even if that was my only option. Some features are better left off the new devices.

It seems like most people are focusing on the mobile payment side of NFC but there are actually multiple useful applications. I have an S3 and I use NFC programmable stickers in my car to change multiple phone settings and automatically launch a navigation app when I get in the car, and another at the office to silence my phone and check in on Foursquare. Its so convenient!

While I am not buying the new iPhone as I purchased a 4S in late December, I would be disappointed if Apple didn't include NFC. This definitely has use beyond money. I could see the future loading bus pass/money onto a phone instead of having a smart card in your wallet (my area bus system has some smart card technology, though I'm not sure what exactly it is), loyalty cards, etc. Plus I see many places with the Visa contactless pay systems and my Wells Fargo debit and credit cards have had this technology for years. Get with it, Apple.