In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, here’s some news: Apple just announced the iPhone 5…
With the announcement came some interesting new enhancements that are in line with most of the rumours and guesses leading up to the event. It is thinner and lighter, has a better camera and screen, more microphones, a new docking port, better WiFi, support for 4G/LTE, and it is faster than the 4s. But one major item is missing, NFC support. NFC stands for Near-Field-Communication and is the technology behind payments and ticket systems where the phone is used instead of say a credit card or train ticket (amongst other things).
Google has supported NFC in their Android operating system since the release of the Samsung Nexus S in 2010 (my first Android phone) and has made large advancements in recent OS releases, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Nokia had the 6131 NFC which they announced in January 2007 – I’m pretty sure I’ve got one in the drawer at home. NFC is also supported in Symbian and Blackberry, leaving Apple as the only major smartphone OS provider not to support the technology.
Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller said in a recent interview that Passbook will suffice for mobile transactions in the place of NFC. Skeptics would probably say that Apple hasn’t figured out how they can turn NFC into a money making system that can be folded into their iTunes ecosystem.
My guess is that we will see an iPhone 6 that will include NFC and an Apple mobile payments app that links to your iTunes account for the transaction. Of course, Apple then can take a cut of all transactions made using the iPhone.
NOTE: One year ago this week, Google released an app, Google Wallet, that allows users to leverage the Google platform to make mobile payments via NFC.
For a list of phones that currently support NFC, you can check out the NFCworld website:
A word of advice, before you jump into mobile payments and NFC, makes sure you have the ability to keep track of your device. A good app that can help you find, lock, and even wipe your device will help to secure your finances if your phone ever goes missing.
I work for Trend Micro and opinions expressed here are my own.