While nothing definite is known as of yet, it looks like Apple is preparing to include Near Field Communications (NFC) in the iPhone 5. If you are unfamiliar with NFC, don’t worry, you are far from being alone.
The concept of NFC is that you have a chip in your cell phone, on a credit card or a keychain, and instead of running your card through a machine, you simply pass the chipped device over a scanner and a payment is automatically deducted from the account you have associated with it. This technology has been in use in Japan for years now, but it is just rolling out to the rest of the world, and McDonald’s in the UK is currently testing it out.
Just after that news surfaced came the revelation that Apple is attempting to include it in the next generation iPhone, and that has made people curious how it would be handled because Apple does nothing that doesn’t in some way benefit them. Could they be tying it to your iTunes account? Will they take a percentage of each transaction? Will they allow you to use your PayPal or bank account? Who knows, but one thing is certain, Apple will make money in some way from the endeavor.
Typically, where Apple goes, the tech industry follows, but the financial industry would be a whole new frontier for the company. They would also be counting on businesses to install the readers, which might not be something companies want to do in a down economy. If enough businesses do it, people might flock to the technology, but if there aren’t enough readers out there, why would anyone want the tech?
Of course, one other thing to consider is Apple’s big rival in the mobile market, Google. While only one Android phone currently has this chip, the Samsung Galaxy S, imagine if they all did. Google already has a financial system in place called Google Checkout, so if they got manufacturers to add the ability to all Android handsets, and tied it to those accounts, it could be a win-win scenario for the company, and also add pressure to Apple cracking the market.
There are a lot of variables to be considered here, and it isn’t even set in stone Apple is doing this, but they are looking into it for sure.
You can also check out our own Jon Rettinger’s thoughts on the matter from his appearance today on CNBC in the video above.
What say you? Are you ready for NFC in your phone?