New iPhone will apparently use NFC for mobile payments

Jane McEntegart

August 28, 2014 3:19pm

While many of its competitors have spent this week teasing their newest smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches, Apple has remained quiet about this year’s iPhone. The company isn’t one to publicly leak or tease new products, unless you count the occasional cryptic tagline on an invitation (this year we didn’t even get that).

However, the ever-reliable rumour mill can usually be counted on to uncover a few of the bigger features of upcoming Apple devices, and the iPhone 6 is no different. This week, “sources familiar with the matter” are talking about NFC, which will apparently be integrated into the iPhone 6. According to Wired, Near Field Communication will form part of Apple’s own payment platform, one of the hallmark features of the phone.

The news comes as no surprise. An Apple-branded mobile payments platform is a rumour we’ve been hearing since before launch of Passbook back in 2012. Passbook allows users to store coupons, tickets, store cards, and boarding passes in their phone. No doubt if Apple plans to launch a mobile payments system, its Passbook wallet application will play a part.

If Passbook isn’t enough to convince you that Apple is keen to play a role in how you pay for goods, maybe Tim Cook will be. Speaking during the company’s Q1 earnings call earlier this year, the Apple CEO revealed that one of the purposes behind Touch ID was mobile payments, and that payments are an area of interest for the company. “The mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with,” Cook is quoted as saying. “It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID.

The new iPhone will no doubt have the same Touch ID authentication that was introduced on the iPhone 5s. But will it be capable of much more with the iPhone 6? Apple confirmed its rumoured September 9 event this afternoon, so we have just under two weeks to go. Stay tuned!

  • Guillaume Simard

    Let’s hope that this will lead to more NFC payment options in Canada!

    Sure, Apple are late to the game.. but more people using NFC can only help NFC adoption.

    • I’m hoping with Apple pushing this, that we’ll finally have a break though for Google Wallet here.

    • It’s Me

      Which is why it’s always funny to read people sh*t on Apple for not having NFC. If almost no one is using it regularly yet, what advantage would there be for adding it. Now that it is starting to gain even a little bit of traction, it might make sense to add it.

    • Jakob

      It’s sad but the market data illustrates that once Apple finally adopts something, the uptake is huge from the customer side. They’ll likely do an ad spot of someone making an NFC payment and make is seem uniquely Apple and people will now click that they can use NFC payments despite it already being available with other devices.

    • Rio

      I don’t think its so much simply because Apple announces it = huge uptake.

      It is because if Apple does infact add NFC, they will also contact vendors to partner up with to roll out NFC. They make sure that when they include something on the phone the customer is actually able to use it.

    • It’s Me

      Which is exactly what Apple always said about NFC. That it was still in it’s infancy and they would support it when it made sense. I just don’t understand why everyone expected them to support it before when so few people were using it and so few retailers supported it. Get your ducks lined up first, then launch. Doing it the other way is just backwards.

    • mastjaso

      You’re not seeming to grasp this rather simple concept. Apple is the one with power. If Apple implemented NFC, everyone else would be forced to get their ducks in a line as all of the sudden their would be huge consumer demand for it. NFC payments have been technically feasible for half a decade, and even in north america they’ve been used in various ways for years, but there’s been no major push because the single most popular phone hasn’t supported it. If Apple added NFC and a mobile payments platform to the iPhone 2 years ago I’m willing to bet we’d all be paying for stuff wirelessly with our smartphones right now.

    • It’s Me

      Actually, I do get that. I have no doubt that once and if Apple gets into the NFC payments the game, you will see a massive update in support by retailers and huge increase in actual usage. I have no doubt about that at all. Yet, from the sounds of the trolls, it’s huge already and Apple is behind. Behind on what? They said they would consider it when it was ready. Seems like it’s maybe ready now, but it sure wasn’t mature (in usage or deployment at retailers) 4 years ago or 3 years ago or even 2 years ago.

      So, you are kind of making my point for me. You say it will won’t take off until Apple gets on board. Until Apple is ready, then what’s their incentive to have done it earlier, if it’s not at critical mass yet? Now that it is, or might be, then maybe now is the right time.

      My point is that if it’s not yet being widely used, what has Apple missed out on? Also that Apple never made fun of NFC, like the trolls keep spewing. They made fun of S-Bump.

    • marorun1982

      lol you so funny 🙂

      Apple wanted to wait yes because as you say the market was not nfc ready.

      The reason behind this is Apple want to always make the bggest margin and why would they include an nfc chip if its not needed.

      Also why include this features when you can wait a year in wich you have less inovation and use nfc as another innovation.

      Thats how apple work and its okay i guess..

    • It’s Me

      Really difficult to parse your posts sometimes.

      Why would any company include hardware they aren’t going to use? That would be wasteful at best and just show a real misunderstanding of basic cost controls. Hopefully it’s not only Apple.

    • marorun1982

      Agreed but Apple never give you all the newest tech and features..

      They keep it on the side and year per year give you some.

      Thats how you get customers hook you know…

    • marorun1982

      Not always but most of the time… i remember apple map…

    • marorun1982

      Yeah they will say they invented it probably..

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      The same advantage of having a fingerprint reader with saphire on it!

    • It’s Me

      So a quick and easy feature you use every day? Doesn’t seem to really be the case.

    • mastjaso

      How is tapping your phone to pay for coffee or lunch not a quick and easy feature you use every day?

    • It’s Me

      It would be, if masses of people were doing it every day. Tim’s just added support for it recently, well after the last iPhone came out.

      As I said, now that NFC payments are starting to get some traction and actual usage, maybe it’s time for Apple to get involved.

    • marorun1982

      All big chain of restaurant like tim , mcdo ect are allready using Visa paypass since at least 2 years lol.

      Been using my visa inside my phone case to pay everywhere since about 2 years.

      Sorry but this is nothing new.
      To do it with a phone is basically the same thing!

      There is : Visa Paywave and mastercarn Paypass and they are both compatible with one another..

    • It’s Me

      Who said it was new? I said it wasn’t widely used or deployed in the past. You mention Tim’s, but that proves my point (even though it went over your head)…Tim’s went live across their stores with NFC in dec of 2013, barely 9 months ago. Not 2 years ago. Not 3 years ago. Not even 1 year ago. 9 months ago.

      We’ve missed out so much…

    • marorun1982

      Allready doing it on my Z1..
      I have put my visa card with paypass in my phone case in the back and when i almost everywhere i allready pay this way.

      Only someplace dont have thats option to pay.

  • jclgan

    OMFGREVOLUTIONARY. It’s simply… magical!

    Seriously though, I hope with Guillaume that Apple’s “trendification” of tech boots the popularity and adoption of NFC (I’m betting it’s Passport integration). Google Wallet is frustratingly non-existent outside of ‘Murica

  • mico

    looks like shamesung can scrap their commercials making fun of the iphone not having NFC. shamesung must be scratching their heads

    • Marc Palumbo

      makes no sense.

    • It’s Me

      What part didn’t you understand?

    • Me Ted

      Probably the asinine nature of the original comment and the fact that it sounds like a 12 year old wrote it.

    • It’s Me

      Well, grammar aside, it made perfect sense. Samsung hasn’t exactly hid that their ads attack Apple in areas where they see that they have a feature that Apple doesn’t, even a trivial feature like NFC. So, if and when Apple adds it, then that is one less area for them to attack them. Just like phone size. Now that it appears that Apple will have larger models, Samsung has to get in their ads poking fun at the size now before they lose the opportunity.

    • mastjaso

      Well the whole “shamesung” part doesn’t really make sense since Apple has generally been one of the most dickish companies of late.

    • It’s Me

      Samsung has built their company on shameless ripoffs of competitors, way before Apple was in the wireless game. Whether that was the BB ripoff (Blackjack) or ripping off Sony or panasonic or others. There was a Vanity Fair article out a while back that interviewed former senior execs and detailed that this is a planned and intentional strategy on their part. So, while it’s juvenile name calling, it’s not inaccurate, If Apple is becoming more “dickish” then it’s more a matter of them keeping up.

    • mastjaso

      Samsung has built a massive corporation on a hell of a lot more than ripping off a few cellphones. They design and manfucaturer tons of industrial, commercial and construction equipment and systems, computers displays, chipsets, memory, and a myriad of other devices and components. While yes, they’ve openly copied designs for cellphones, but that’s still a far cry from saying that they’ve built a company on shameless ripoffs.

    • It’s Me

      Sorry, yes, I should have been more clear. While they are a massive company, if you look at their numbers, the vast majority of their profits are from the electronics division and that division and a stunning turn around 3 years ago where they suddenly started recording massive growth. A big part of that growth was from selling components to companies like Apple but a big part was from their phones.

      This division, Samsung Electronics, is the driver of the rest of Samsung’s performance these days and this division has never (way before their sudden success with phones) was never shy to shamelessly rip off anyone and everyone. TVs, monitors, patented technology. And their internal policy is to copy and let the lawsuits come and drag them out. That is actual corporate policy as reported by insiders. Ignoring smartphones entirely, they are shameless in copying. So, calling them out on it is hardly out of line…their own former senior execs have called them out on it even though it cost them dearly.

      So, while I it was hyberbole to say they built their whole company one it, it is a common practice for them.

    • marorun1982

      They also copied design in about all the others thing they make.. Sorry but thats a reality.

    • mastjaso

      Really? Give me an example.

    • marorun1982

      I don’t have time to waste giving load of example.

      2006 Motorola RAZR vs samsung sync

      2006 Motorola q vs samsung blackjack

      They also copied the Dyson vacuum cleaner (samsung motion sync vacuum)

      Now I won’t research more as the majority of information for Samsung design copy mostly go to apple iPhone that’s been copied..

      So plz 🙂

    • marorun1982

      Sad but true.

      so as here we get 3 iphone out of 10 sold comming back with problem we should call Apple Crapple 🙂

    • It’s Me

      You must have special customers.

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      These guys are bitter rivals and you can bet they will find ways to criticize each other somehow

  • Marc Palumbo

    I’m not sure why Apple is pretty much giving up on Beacons and going for the NFC route. Surprising they cave in like this. I don’t think this would happen and the “sources familiar with the matter” are just trolling.

    • It’s Me

      What does NFC have to do with iBeacons? Long range beacons can have a range of up to 70 meters. How close is NFC to that type of range?

    • Marc Palumbo

      That’s the point. There is no need to be that far away. I know you are ALWAYS defending Apple, but give it up. NFC makes sense because it makes sense to be close enough to do data transfers or mobile payments. iBeacons are useless to have if you are going to be further away.

    • Jakob

      I’m not sure you understand the difference for NFC vs iBeacons.

    • It’s Me

      So, then you don’t really understand the difference between iBeacons and NFC? If you were to integrate a phone into a home automation environment (say to turn on lights or adjust the heat), how would you use NFC for that conveniently? Walk up to the thermostat or light switch and swipe? For an advertising company, if you want to use a beacon-like technology to push ads, you really expect users to wave their phone close to each and every shelf?

      using a BT LE solution in those situations is almost always superior to NFC. Not really sure where you are going with this iBeacons tangent.

    • Marc Palumbo

      you can use Wi-Fi for your example

    • It’s Me

      Not really. Not for those specific examples I gave anyway. Wifi isn’t very good at detecting range. So, if you wanted to pop a coupon up for cheerios for a shopper as they passed the cereal aisle, wifi would be useless because it would instead spam everyone in the store. Similarly, if you wanted to have the lights come on when you approached your home theater room, wifi would be useless because it would have no idea where you were in the house. Bluetooth would work better in those cases.

      iBeacons is a platform that sits on top of BT LE. It has nothing to do with NFC. There might be a small area of overlap, but very small. Hell, technically iBeacons could be extended to sit on top of and use NFC and/or wifi for applications where they would work better than BT LE (but I don’t think that is happening any time soon).

    • Marc Palumbo

      I don’t think you need iBeacons to do this. This can work just fine with BT alone. Any time you are within 3-5 feet is enough. It’s all fluff with Apple.

    • It’s Me

      Exactly, but you need the software on top to enable it all and tie it together. That’s all ibeacon is. That’s not fluff, that’s what you need on top.

      What you are saying is like saying all you need is a phone to do NFC payments. But that misses the point of also needing the apps and payment systems. That’s what ibeacon is to BT LE. It’s the layer on top that ads functionality to the underlying technology.

      Do you understand now?

    • Marc Palumbo

      but iBeacon is a hardware component. The Operating System still has to talk to the iBeacon. If smartphones already ship with BT, then why need an iBeacon?

    • It’s Me

      It’s not a separate hardware component for the phone. At best, it is a standard BTLE chipset with some added range.

      iBeacon is a platform. So a retailer might need iBeacon beacon to broadcast, just as a retailer would need an NFC payment terminal to accept payments. But you don’t need special hardware in the phone. There is nothing stopping any Android company from supporting it. In fact there are Android apps right now for iBeacon. The only limitation at the moment is that Android has a bug where it will crash when there are many iBeacons in the vicinity.

      If you run a store, then you can’t just expect your wall will be an iBeacon any more than you could expect a door to be an NFC payment terminal. You need the hardware on that side. But once you have it, it works with anyone’s phone that has BTLE and a compatible software stack (or NFC and a payment system for NFC payments).

    • mastjaso

      I think it’s also worth pointing out that iBeacon was never going to be a replacement for NFC, at least in the short term. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have way too much range to be used as security passes, it would make it trivial to sit in a mall with a laptop and steal everyone’s credit cards info. One of the beauties of RFID and now NFC is the purposefully short range which means even if someone was trying to access your phone through an NFC connection they would basically have to have an antenna almost touching your phone just to detect a signal.

    • It’s Me

      Sure, but they are barely competing technologies. iBeacons is not comparable to NFC. The technology that iBeacons sits on top of, BlueTooth Low Energy, is what you would compare to NFC and they have very different target usages.

      iBeacons is a platform on top of BTLE, just like mobile payments can be a platform on top of NFC. Theoretically, iBeacons could add NFC and even wifi to extend it’s functionality.

      As for security, iBeacons doesn’t act as a payment system, so it can’t really be exploited to intercept payment info.

    • marorun1982

      Thats mean anyone could cook up a similar software for any platform.

      its just thats a software.

    • It’s Me

      yes, absolutely. Google, Samsung, IBM…anyone could replicate something like iBeacons because it’s just functionality that uses BTLE. It isn’t a replacement for NFC, it’s barely even overlaps with NFC functionality.

      The key would be critical mass for iBeacons or something like it, just like it is with NFC payments. Few companies have the size to push something as big as iBeacons or NFC payments all by themselves. Apple might be big enough. Google might be big enough. So far NFC payments haven’t hit critical mass, even with Google and other pushing it hard for years. But they sure are getting close in the last few months.

    • marorun1982

      its could work but as less options you need to be objective here.

    • marorun1982

      Thats would be amazing!

      But yeah wont happen.

    • marorun1982

      Agreed but NFC will always be more secure for direct payements.

      For the rest this could be interesting.

    • It’s Me

      I wouldn’t say always.

      NFC in and of itself is not secure. Just as BlueTooth, wifi and ethernet are not inherently secure. What makes any transmission protocol secure is how the data is handled before, during and after the transmission. In that regard, BTLE/iBeacons can be just as secure as NFC. Either can be more secure than the other. Either can be less secure than the other. It depends on the implementation.

      The rumours suggest that Apple’s mobile payment system will store the payment info on the CPU in an area not accessible by any app. Further, it will not transmit the card info to the payment system, but will transmit an encrypted token. Therefore the payment info cannot be compromised before, during or after a transaction. Current NFC solutions encrypt card data but that encrypted card data might be accessible. Further, that encrypted card data is transmitted. So, that isn’t NFC that is less secure, but the overall payment system is not as secure as one that never transmitted the card info.

      It isn’t about Apple vs NFC. It about whether Apple can deploy a better mouse trap.

    • marorun1982

      Te longer the range the more options hackers have to steal your payement info.
      So NFC is more secure thats all.

    • Ryan

      This is just a rumour, it’s a far cry to state that “Apple is giving up on iBeacon”. There are dozens of false rumors that pop up every year when a new iPhone comes out. it’s click bait.

  • JB

    The Iphone got 9/10’s from dan back when it was missing basic features even budget phones had(nfc, HD, micro usb, removable bat, upgradable storage, and more) but now with NFC nothing will stop whats coming from Mobilesyrup..

    Drum roll…….

    I’m calling it now guys….Dan will give the iPhone 6 14/10 on the next review….and you can’t blame him it does have a 720p screen, and nfc now…..ITS A GAME CHANGER!!

    • Richard Wangly

      None of the features you mentioned are critical, and not having them doesn’t make any phone a “bad” phone. In Canada, NFC is still mostly useless for everyone but us geeks. HD has been pushed so far that (imo) the cons are outpacing the pros. Mainstreamers obviously don’t give a crap about expandable storage or removable batteries, because they keep buying (in rapid succession) phones that forego them. I happen to agree about micro-USB, but Apple has always gone with proprietary everything, so expecting otherwise would be silly.

      In summary, if the reviewer felt that the implementation of the features it DID have deserved a good rating, so what? You can blame Apple all you want for not making the phone you want to see, but knocking off more than one point for lacking functions it wasn’t designed to have seems excessive.

  • Philosoraptor

    Personally, I’d rather have Qi than NFC. I barely ever use NFC on any of my phones but use Qi religiously whenever I’m using a phone that supports it.

    That being said, no reason not to have both.

    • Croc Ography

      This ^^

  • Chris

    Google better get their crap together, stop slacking and use their power to get Wallet here in Canada, because if iPhone gets here first, this loyal Android/Nexus user may just make the switch.

    • AGoodM8

      The main appeal of the Nexus line is the ridiculous value alongside a great stock Android experience. The iPhone isn’t exactly a threat in either of those departments..

    • It’s Me

      Nexus is a great value for sure but both value and UX are subjective. Some might see more/better of both with the iPhone. To each their own.

    • Marc Palumbo

      We all know you have an iPhone. Don’t hide!

    • It’s Me

      Of course I do. That doesn’t change the fact that some people will see more value in the nexus or prefer the UX on the nexus. Others will prefer the iPhone in either or both areas. It also doesn’t change the fact that I love the idea of Nexus and am very happy it exists to push the concept of lowering the overall price of phones and interface standards and consistency. These are all good things (not all unique to Nexus).

      To each their own. While I’m an apple user and try to dispel incorrect info about them (and misinformation in general), I would never try to convince someone they are wrong to prefer another platform. That would be douchey, no?

    • AGoodM8

      To a degree it certainly is. But price is less subjective, and here in Canada the gap in price between the two is more marked. The unlocked iPhone 5S (16 GB) starts at 720 CAD here while it is 650 USD in the States… Nexus pricing, apart from shipping and tax, is exactly on par with the US. Contract plans for the iPhone here are also quite unfortunately high.

    • It’s Me

      Correct. price certainly is quantitative. Value is qualitative and subjective.

      So, nexus is definitely cheaper in price. Whether that makes it a better value is up to the individual.

    • Chris

      I was in no way suggesting that in the least. Where did you get that idea?

    • AGoodM8

      Fair enough; I misinterpreted your comment.

  • G-man

    Apple : Welcome to the 21st century.
    I’m sure they’ll present this as their personal innovation.
    Oh, well, at least iPhone users will be able to do one useful thing with their “smartphones”.
    Until they update it.
    Remember : you can’t leave Apple without them holding your contacts and email hostage for a few months. And don’t resale your iPhone. It can’t be wiped.

    • It’s Me

      wtf are you smoking? It can’t be wiped? That was a core tenet for iphones almost from the beginning. And how do they hold your contacts and email hostage? Seriously, what does that even mean?

      I’ll ask you, maybe you can explain…what have iPhone users been missing out on without NFC? How has this 21st century super technology of NFC changed your life?

      My guess, in terms of how they sell it, will be as a more secure and maybe faster/easier implementation. I don’t expect they’ll try to say that having NFC by itself is innovative. It would take a special kind of dumb to claim NFC, by itself, is innovative. For any company.

    • Q_Abdul

      Same thoughts here!

  • If the next iPhone comes with NFC for mobile payments, that will be a bit of a surprise for sure given the fact that Apple has publicly made fun of NFC in the past.

    • BriniaSona

      it will come with NFC, but itll be just a tiny bit different and that means that only Apple brand stuff with work with it, while everything else stays how it was. As the apple way.

    • It’s Me

      Wifi works the same on Apple. Bluetooth works the same with Apple. Cellular works the same with Apple.

      NFC is just an underlying tech. It won’t be any different. What they build on top might be.

    • It’s Me

      If by made fun of you mean they said they’d add it when it was ready, then yeah. But that’s not really making fun. That’s saying it was still immature and they’d support it when it was ready.

    • There seems to something wrong with your ability to comprehend things. When I said that “Apple publicly made fun of NFC”, I did not say that Apple was going to add NFC when it was ready. I don’t know how you managed to misinterpret my comment and put your own spin on it. At the time, Apple’s take on NFC was that NFC clearly wasn’t going to become popular and that and so they decided to go with iBeacon technology instead as an alternate method to build on mobile payment solutions to go alongside Passbook and this was just last year. Now, a year later, Apple reportedly finally decides to add NFC. In addition, Apple even touted that Airdrop on iOS was a more efficient way to share photos with more than one person at a time instead of “bumping phones to share information with NFC” as they put it.

    • It’s Me

      They made fun of bumping not NFC. There a difference and it’s not even really subtle. Maybe it’s a language thing. Not sure how you confused the two. At least understand the FUD you are throwing out.

      Not only didn’t they make fun of NFC, they said they’d consider it. That would be bizarre, to mock it and say they’d consider it at the same time. So, when they said “we’ll consider it when it’s ready” that is hardly making fun of it. Get your stories straight.

      Also, ibeacon and NFC…very different. One does not replace the other. You guys should read up before posting out of ignorance. NFC can’t provide 70 meters of range. NFC can’t detect when you enter a room or when you go down a store aisle or walk into a theater. BT LE can…which is why iBeacon is built on BT LE.

      Airdrop does replace bumping, that’s true. That’s why they made fun of phone bumpers, but not NFC.

    • mwahahahaha

      we are making fun of both of you….HAHA!

    • It’s Me

      ok, thanks fritz.

  • jay

    Don’t think apple goes that way. Just another rumor like all the other. 5.5 inch iphone than 4.7 another one we getting two iphone.
    And anyways who cares nfc or not just not smart enough. Just want to press which coffee I want and is payed ready to pick up.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    Yay, finally NFC. it only took them what? 4 years?

    • It’s Me

      Yay! What’d they miss?

    • Q_Abdul

      Believe me.. Hell of things!!

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  • Q_Abdul