& cplSiteName &

Did Apple Just Kill NFC?

Sarah Thomas
9/13/2012
50%
50%

1:55 PM -- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s exclusion of Near-Field Communications (NFC) from the iPhone 5 could have farther reaching repercussions than just disappointing those who wanted to ditch their wallet for their new phone. (See iPhone 5 Arrives With 4G LTE.)

I think it's reasonable to suggest that Apple's NFC slight will set the entire market back a year -- possibly even two, when you think about the iPhone case and accessory market that's put on hold now. (See Apple iPhone 5: What Happened & What Didn't .)

I realize that's giving a lot of credit to one company in a market that many more are working on, but hear me out. Apple's mobile products are responsible for making a lot of technologies mainstream. Video chat existed before FaceTime, but it wasn't well known. Mobile apps were around, but Apple's App Store caused them to blow up.

Apple's brand power aside, the contactless market is shaping up on its own, without NFC. Sure, some companies, like the wireless operators' Isis and handset makers like Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and BlackBerry are planning to evangelize it, but it's been a slow-moving process and there's plenty of alternatives that are doing quite well in the interim. (See 5 iPhone 5 Features Carriers Should Care About and iPhone 5: Which 4G Carrier to Pick?)

Square Inc. is the best example now. It has inked deals with most major credit cards, not to mention is the mobile payments vendor for Starbucks, and it's on track to process $6 billion in transactions this year. It's an easy technology to use, doesn't require a new chip in handsets to implement, and it's popular with merchants, too. None of that can be said for NFC.

As to why Apple didn't include NFC, Senior VP Paul Shiller tells AllThingsD that NFC is a solution looking for a problem. Apple's Passbook app, which let users store their mobile tickets and loyalty cards, does enough for most consumers, he believes. (See Apple Could Make Mobile Payments AuthenTec.)

He may be right but, by that logic, why not continue refining 3G on the iPhone for wireless connections? After all, users don't really need 4G wireless.

What NFC does provide is at least the concept of a standard way for carriers, vendors and third parties to support contactless payments on a smartphone. Apple passing over the technology for another year or more, however, will make it more likely that other, likely non-standard, ways of doing the same thing will gain enough traction to make NFC technology less attractive to implement for major retail outlets, particularly in the U.S., as well as wireless providers of all stripes.

So if Apple hasn't killed NFC with non-inclusion this time around, it has certainly given the would-be mobile wallet tech a serious mugging and sent it reeling into an uncertain future.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
JameKatt
50%
50%
JameKatt,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/5/2013 | 11:40:36 AM
NFC is dead. Forget about it - it is the 3D of merchant payments.
Apple killed NFC.

Apple's Passbook solution simply works for merchants without having to buy new equipment.

Starbucks, for example, works fine without NFC.

The key negative about NFC is that merchants will have to spend thousands of dollars per store to buy new equipment to handle NFC.  This is a huge negative.

Apple sees no need for NFC and lots of problems with NFC. 

Since everyone else is following Apple's lead - including Samsung and Google - no NFC for Apple means NFC is dead.

Apple's fingerprint sensor technology further kills NFC.  There simply is no need for NFC.
craigleddy
50%
50%
craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:21:06 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


We could ask Siri if Apple just killed NFC, but she'll probably tell us that no, Apple did not kill the National Football Conference. If we tell her that not including NFC in the iPhone 5 doesn't seem very consumer friendly to us, she'll probably send us Apple's Passbook app. Oh that Siri.   

desiEngineer
50%
50%
desiEngineer,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:04 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


As Soup says, Apple is very leery of cutting edge.  Gorilla glass and LTE are notable.


BTW, I think you should look at it this way: if Apple backs something, then it becomes popular.  If Apple doesn't back something, it just means it is holding back until it can make itself look good doing it.


-desi

larryw408
50%
50%
larryw408,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:04 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


They're going to need something new for the iPhone 6...

Soupafly
50%
50%
Soupafly,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:21:04 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


Its too early to make the call on NFC.


You have to dive below the hype Sarah and see the wood not the trees. Your articles are usually informative and balanced, so I am going to put this 1 down to a low "starbucks" day.


Apple has never been a edgy innovator. They would like to sell you that story and if you buy that narrative then they are very happy! Reality is that they adopt a fast follower with a focused USP around user experience.


I think they dont know what standard will win and are not in the gambling mood, because the judgement call between teh competing systems is too close to call.


Can they create themselves a standard? Yep.


Are the confident they can lead on the UE? No.

paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:03 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


I guess I don't understand why its wonderful to have a card that can be stolen (and acts like cash) or a phone to be hacked to pay my bills wirelessly by waving them at a machine.  Imagine a hacked POS device.


I just think both are just so likely to add to theft that before we get convenience happy that we need to think through the security aspects.


seven


 

Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:21:03 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


I'm not convinced about NFC in phones for payments. The new Visa cards in UK have a thing called contactless payment. You touch your card to a machine and pay for goods without entering a PIN.


It some ways it seems better than using a phone to do the same thing. Maybe a phone would be more secure (if you set a password?).


It looks like this:


<img alt="" height="413" src="http://www.standard.co.uk/incoming/article8075673.ece/ALTERNATES/w620/AN7803721NOTE-THE-VISA-CARD.jpg" width="620">

shygye75
50%
50%
shygye75,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:21:02 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


Surveys suggest that more than 20% of mobile phone users have either lost their phone or had it stolen at some point. That is a huge revenue opportunity for the bad guys.

ethertype
50%
50%
ethertype,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:21:01 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


I think you're onto an important point here. &nbsp;Apple may be holding back in part because of security issues. &nbsp;Once any standard takes off, it will be a big target for bad guys, and not just the ones who "find" phones. &nbsp;i have maintained for some time that payment systems will only look secure enough to replace a large fraction of transactions when you can offer 2-factor authentication (device + shared secret, i.e. password or equivalent) as the default, and 3-factor (adding bio ID) as a requirement for larger transactions or as an option for customers to protect themselves on smaller transactions. &nbsp;The latter will require a fingerprint reader or retina scan on the phone. &nbsp;NFC doesn't solve 2- or 3-factor auth. &nbsp;It's just a more convenient way to present your single-factor credential (i.e. the device). &nbsp;People love to talk about "wave and go" transactions, but let's face it, those will need to be restricted to a modest number of very small transactions per day.


More broadly, I believe Apple has not yet worked out how to ensure that the overall user experience of mobile payments, including security, is Apple-worthy. &nbsp;To achieve that, they will need to have a strong role in the mobile payments ecosystem, which likely puts them in competition with a lot of other players. &nbsp;And of course, that could be more profitable for them as well. &nbsp;Maybe they could get a cut of the processing fees, or maybe they even see the opportunity to become a bank and disrupt yet another industry. &nbsp;But doing those things is way harder than just throwing a chip in a phone.

JohnVoda
50%
50%
JohnVoda,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:01 PM
re: Did Apple Just Kill NFC?


I agree that security is an unknown, and Apple doesn't want to dive into a area that might explode in their face. Smartphone hacking is picking up, and making the devices even MORE hack-worthy (i.e. the NFC/mobile wallet) needs to wait until security/identification is 100% effective and (especially for Apple) easy to use/user friendly.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
More Blogs from Que Sera Sarah
Nicole Engelbert, the director of research and analsis for Ovum, will be joining Women in Comms on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 11:00 a.m. EST to talk all things women in tech.
Consulting firm will build 'inclusion councils' with white men in the mix instead of employee resource groups for women and minorities alone.
How many more women have to come forward and public apologies issued before we can just agree that now is the time to stop being creepy and start being decent human beings?
Over-the-top content company cuts its famous 120-slide deck down to 10 pages to communicate its values and culture to those both inside and outside of its business.
The ride-hailing company said it has let 20 employees go over an investigation into sexual harassment claims and is still investigating almost 100 others.
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Analyst Nolle: Fundamental Errors Plague NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/11/2017
Snapchat Misses Estimates, Eyes Reality Shows
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/11/2017
ATIS: Connected Car Security an Industry-Wide Issue
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/10/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.