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One of the most frequently reported rumors – repeated about this time every year for the last five years – is that Apple will include near-field communications technology in its iPhone. So with the iPhone 6’s anticipated announcement coming one week from today, we’re hearing about NFC once again.
What’s the big deal, you might ask? Many Android phones have had NFC technology – particularly convenient for mobile payments – for years now. It’s a technology that Apple until now has eschewed. The Silicon Valley giant, does, however, support a number of apps that facilitate contactless payments at some retailers via the iPhone or iPad.
“Since 2008, many of the world’s most reputable news outlets have reported that the next iteration of the iPhone will indisputably be NFC-enabled,” noted Jordan McKee, senior analyst with 451 Research, commenting specifically on a Reuters article. “While it’s easy to buy into these types of reports, anyone following this space knows it’s exceedingly difficult to read the tea leaves on Apple’s payments plans. Six years’ worth of NFC-related patents and partnerships have yet to manifest themselves in any significant way. Those placing bets on NFC inclusion in the newest iPhone also must understand that it’s quite unlikely it will be used in the way most would expect. Apple has little to gain following the traditional GSMA SIM-based model championed by operators. A more plausible scenario is that it will be leveraged as a means of out-of-band Bluetooth pairing to enable secure, tokenized iBeacon transactions.”
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