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iPad 2, iPhone 5 may both get NFC, iTunes may get points

updated 07:25 am EST, Tue January 25, 2011

Next iPad and iPhone would make NFC staple feature

Analyst Richard Doherty of the Envisioneering Group claimed unusual access to Apple today with comments that Apple would add NFC (near field communications) to all its mobile devices. Along with the anticipated iPhone 5, the next iPad would get the short-range wireless technology, hardware engineers for both devices reportedly said. While he didn't explain how it would work in earnest, he told Bloomberg it might be used for an iTunes mobile payment system as soon as mid-2011, in sync with the new iPhone's release.

The project if implemented would add a point system or some other form of loyalty program to encourage repeat shopping trips or to refer a friend. Apple supposedly has a prototype payment terminal that would be used to trigger an NFC payment. It could be heavily subsidized or given away for free to spur early adoption.

Speculation has also suggested that Apple could charge higher rates for iAds triggered by NFC, such as getting a movie ad from a poster.

Apple as expected wouldn't comment on the rumor.

Earlier rumors have raised the possibility that Apple may have a strictly practical use for NFC outside of commercial use. The company may use NFC for Mac preference syncing and could let a user port over basic Mac OS X account details just by getting close to a future NFC-equipped Mac. Although not mentioned, Apple mobile devices could also exchange data when close to each other or make an ad hoc local network for multiplayer games.

That Apple is working on NFC is already known as it hired Benjamin Vigier to head up a new Mobile Commerce group as of last year. Its timing and reach are uncertain, but if present in the next iPad it could be ready by April. Apple usually releases new iPhones in late June or July.

Other phone or phone OS makers are known to be getting involved in NFC. Android 2.3 has NFC as a core feature, but 2011 BlackBerrys like the Dakota are also known to be getting the technology. Nokia has been supporting NFC on a basic level since 2006 but is just now promising it for its 2011 smartphones.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mustango

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And NFC is what exactly?

    Seriously, I had to read the article twice just to even get the general idea, and even then I still haven't the slightest idea what the NFC acronym stands for. Does it involve the Green Bay Packers?

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Unusual Access?

    Anyone who claims to have "unusual" or "special" access to Apple is simply a liar. I have friends who work for Apple, some in highly responsible roles and getting info out of them is simply impossible. I actually admire their resolute ability to keep secrets. The best that you can ever manage is a knowing glint in the eye. That any well-placed Apple employee would willingly spill "roadmap" information is nonsense and analysts who claim some form of "privileged" status, again, are simply liars.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not necessarily liars

    they could simply be used as conduits for misdirection and disinformation or even possibly flushing out loose-lipped idiots. Just sayin'.

  1. msteffer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    NFC = near field communication

  1. _Rick_V_

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Unusual Access?

    I tend to agree with Feathers. I've also personally known a couple Apple employee's; you'd think they work NSA or something.
    (NSA = National Security Agency)

  1. goldflowpoints

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ITunes Points?

    The headline mentions that "iTunes may get points." Does the article discuss this or did I just miss it?

    -Joe Wagner
    Founder, Gold Flow Points

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    all right!

    More c*** being charged to one's iTunes account. At what point is Apple going to be forced to change the name from iTunes to something a little less associated to music?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And yet another way for Apple to make money off of every purchase you make. So they've sucked money from music sales, video sales, app sales. Now it'll be everyday sales.

    Oh, but I'm sure we'll be told they're only charging the money to cover their costs. They really aren't making anything on it, it's just a way to spur hardware sales...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    One last question is whether such a system will be a standardized set-up (that is, 25 different device makers can all have NFC capabilities, able to work on any cashing system out there and going through the appropriate intermediary, be it Apple, Google, PayPal, Amazon, MS, or anyone else).

    Or is this one of those "Every provider would need their own reader" situations. For I can't imagine many companies jumping on board if they'd need 25 different readers by their sales terminals.

    Oh, wait, Apple's going to corner the market on this with giving away their terminals, and then once they have enough on board, maybe get the other device makers to use their service or die on the sidelines.

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