iPhone 6 NFC: Apple Pay only for now

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The new iPhones set to launch this week will have NFC in them! Finally! Hurrah! Except it turns out that what you can do with that NFC chip in Australia right now will be… absolutely nothing.

Apple took its sweet time to bring NFC to the iPhone, almost glossing over the fact that it was slow to market while heavily promoting its Apple Pay contactless payments solution. It turns out that this is (for now) the only thing you can do with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus when it comes to NFC. Frankly, Apple, that’s not good enough.

That’s as per Cult Of Mac, where it’s reporting that the NFC chips within the new iPhones will only work with Apple Pay at launch.

Not that they’ll actually work with Apple Pay at launch in any case, because that’s a contactless solution that won’t actually roll out in the US until October. There’s no stated timeline for Apple Pay rollout in Australia, although as my Vertical Hold partner in crime Adam Turner noted recently, Australia is an excellent position for a rollout of Apple Pay due to the number of paywave and paypass terminals in Australia.

Apple Pay, as we noted, could well be the good solid kick up the backside that mobile payments solutions needs if it takes off, but at the same time, Apple’s putting a fairly petty limitation on NFC usage within the handsets if what Cult Of Mac is reporting is accurate. If it is, it means that any Apple iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus sold in Australia will be able to do nothing at all with its NFC hardware for now, and for at least the mid-term future.

NFC isn’t new technology, and it’s built into any number of devices, most notably a lot of headphones and speaker products. It’s really quite handy to have quick NFC pairing for those devices, but if you line up and buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on Friday, you won’t be able to take advantage of it. At least, not right now.

I’ve seen commentary that notes that Apple might be taking the same kind of approach to NFC as it did to Touch ID last year. When Touch ID launched, it was Apple-only, and Apple sales only, but it’s expanded out its usage to app developers in its own time. Apple presumably could go the same way with NFC.

I don’t quite see the Apple Pay situation as entirely analogous, however. Touch ID wasn’t exactly “new” technology, because fingerprint sensors have been around for a good long time, especially in corporate laptops, but it was a solid implementation, and easily the best touch implementation I’ve seen in any smartphone, period.

But NFC is NFC.

It’s a standard, and it’s well understood. Yes, Apple is tying it into TouchID for its verification procedures, but blocking off the rest of NFC, just because Apple is… well, Apple? That’s just limiting usage for the sake of it, as far as I can see.

Source: Cult Of Mac

Image: Apple

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