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Apple Invents a New Apple Pay Lower NFC Power Mode Feature


Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new Apple Pay feature that will be able to lower NFC power drain when not in use. Apple's invention relates to the management of near field communications by using low power modes of an electronic device such as an iPhone.


Apple's Patent Background


Portable electronic devices (e.g., cellular telephones) may be provided with near field communication ("NFC") components for enabling contactless proximity-based communications with another entity. Often times, these communications are associated with currency transactions or other secure data transactions that users rely on every day, such as credit card payments and public transportation ticketing. However, due to the limited amount of power available to battery operated devices, the NFC capabilities of such devices are often compromised or rendered unusable when their available power drops below certain thresholds.


Apple Invents Lower NFC Modes for iDevices using Apple Pay


Apple's invention generally relates to the management of near field communications and, more particularly, to the management of near field communications using low power modes of an electronic device.


More specifically, Apple's invention describes systems, methods, and computer-readable media for managing power usage in a device that is capable of near field communications and/or other wireless communications technologies.


According to Apple, near field communications may be managed differently according to different power management modes of an electronic device. In certain low power management modes, certain components of an electronic device may be at least partially disabled or shut down to conserve power.


When an electronic device operates in these modes, credentials of an NFC component in the device may be appropriately secure and/or appropriately accessible, while power consumption of the NFC component is limited or reduced. For example, when entering a low power management mode, an NFC component may be initially disabled and user authentication may be required to re-enable the NFC component for use during the low power management mode.


An output component, such as a display, may also be initially disabled upon entering the low power management mode, yet the output component may be re-enabled at some later point during the low power management mode in order to prompt a user to authenticate himself or herself such that the NFC component may be re-enabled. One or more applications, such as all non-native applications, running on the device prior to entering the low power management mode may be disabled upon entering the low power management mode and a specific low power management mode application may be launched to control the operation of the NFC component and/or any other components of the electronic device during the low power management mode.


The low power management mode may be initialized in response to a user request or in response to the remaining power of a power supply dropping below a specific threshold, whereas user authentication of the NFC component during the low power management mode may be initialized in response to a user request or in response to an NFC terminal being detected within a specific proximity of the electronic device.


NFC component 120 may include any suitable modules for enabling contactless proximity-based communication 55 between electronic device 100 and terminal 10.


As shown in Apple's patent FIG. 2, one specific example shows that the iPhone has a specific icon #182 labeled with an NFC LOW POWER MODE textual indicator 181 (i.e., specific icon 183). When selected, the iPhone (or iDevice 100) will launch or otherwise access a specific NFC low power mode or wallet mode application (e.g., application 143) and may display screens of a specific user interface that may include one or more tools or features for interacting with NFC component in a specific manner (see patent FIGS. 4A-4G below for specific examples of such displays or user interfaces associated with low power mode).



The patent is steep in technical about contactless payments and wireless technologies. If you wish to delve into the details of this invention, see Apple's patent application here.


Patent Credits


Apple credits Ahmer Khan, Joakim Linde, Joseph Hakim and Zachary Rosen as the inventors of patent application 20150044964 which was originally filed in Q4 2013. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


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