updated 09:50 am EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Could be warranted by Apple-devised mobile payment system
Apple is "likely" to build NFC technology into the iPhone 6, according to BrightWire. The newswire agency cites a source "close to the matter," who states that Apple has forged a deal with bank card company China UnionPay on a mobile payment service. Under that agreement, people should be able to use a combination of the UnionPay app and iOS' Passbook to make transactions at UnionPay's 3 million QuickPass point-of-sale terminals in China. UnionPay is developing a system that follows its PBOC QuickPass standard, compatible with iOS, and major Chinese banks have been invited to participate in the project. More significantly perhaps, the two firms are reportedly working on a mobile payment platform that can be used in Apple Stores.
Apple has been rumored as wanting NFC in the iPhone for years, but has also disappointed forecasters so far. In 2012 Apple marketing head Phil Schiller claimed that NFC was "not the solution to any current problem." More recently, however, Apple has been making serious strides towards a mobile payment platform. That technology would let people pay for retail goods using an iPhone and their iTunes account; while there ways to implement such a concept without NFC, being able to swipe an iPhone to make payments would be faster than alternatives like QR codes or barcodes.
An uphill battle may be waiting for Apple if it enters mobile payments. Platforms like Isis and Google Wallet are more established, but even those are used relatively rarely by the public, which still prefers to pay via cards or cash in most instances.