In July we reported on a couple of fresh iWallet rumors that had surfaced stemming from developments occurring at Visa Digital Solutions. Then yesterday we reported on the Wired based rumor claiming that Apple's iPhone 6 would include NFC technology for an iWallet application. As the saying goes, where there's smoke there's fire. Today a new report from The Financial Times is claiming that Apple is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP to add secure short-range wireless technology into the next iPhone, enabling new pay-by-touch capabilities in the latest bid for the smartphone to replace the wallet. The Financial Times was first to report that Apple's Home Automation platform was coming and that an Apple-Beats deal was about to be announced. Does the Financial Times have it right again?
According to The Financial Times, "Several people familiar with Apple's plans say NXP will provide the secure near-field communications chips that will allow an iPhone to connect with payment terminals or ticketing systems, as well as opening up the possibility for other applications in the "internet of things."
Next Generation NFC Technology from NXP
While The Financial Times report states that NFC technology allows a smartphone to communicate wirelessly with other devices by tapping them together, a next generation NFC technology from NXP could offer a contactless methodology. NXP states that by combining a contactless NFC interface with a new contact interface solutions will enable new kinds of NFC tag interactions, including advanced device pairing and personalization of electronic devices.
More importantly, NXP's complete next generation passive solution for near field communication (NFC) interaction will work with a wide variety of applications such as home appliances, consumer electronics, wearable technology and home automation. NXP further notes that "It will now become possible to use the highly intuitive UI on your smartphone to program a washing machine, exchange data with an exercise bike or wristband, and download specific cooking recipes to your microwave oven."
NXP's new solution appears to be a custom fit for several of Apple's new projects including HomeKit, HealthKit and an iWallet. In respect to the "wristband" Patently Apple was first to reveal a new patent application from Apple yesterday about a watch or watch-like device that would use NFC. Apple's first patent relating to a wristband computer was published in 2013.
Another edge to NXP's technology is that it features a specific pass-through mode, which allows the device to serve as an easy to integrate communication pipe for unlimited bi-directional data exchange between the feature-rich NFC device, which may have a connection to the cloud and an advanced user-interface/display, and the electronic devices.
The Financial Times noted that in 2012, Apple was granted a significant patent for a sophisticated mobile payments system involving NFC. The patent submission suggested that iTunes could be used to manage credit card statements. That patent was first covered by Patently Apple and could be reviewed here.
As we noted in yesterday's report regarding the Wired based rumor, let's not forget that Apple's big iBeacon push has been gathering a lot of steam lately and so Apple may end up adopting both technologies for future iPhones.
As the countdown to Apple's event continues, we'll know in just eleven days exactly what technologies that Apple has chosen for the new iPhone 6.
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