Rumored NFC Chip In The Next iPhone More Likely To Be In-Cell Touchscreen Controller

Rumored NFC Chip In The Next iPhone More Likely To Be In-Cell Touchscreen Controller

That’s not NFC after all.

Yesterday, we reported on a theory that a small square chip in the next iPhone could be a secret NFC chip. But today, Anandtech is making a much more convincing case that it’s not.

Given the primarily metal backside of the new iPhone, it’s highly unlikely that NFC is in the cards for this generation. In fact, given the very little space at top and bottom dedicated to those glass RF windows, you can almost entirely rule it out.

NFC operates on the 13.56MHz ISM band, which has a relatively large wavelength, at 22.1 m. Making a traditional dipole antenna that radiates at all given the constraints of a smartphone package is thus a big challenge, considering that smartphones are maybe 5-inches tall at maximum, to say nothing of the supposed upcoming iPhone’s longest linear dimension….

The inclusion of Passbook in iOS 6 is the most often-cited piece of evidence for Apple including NFC, which seems a bit paradoxical since Apple hasn’t disclosed at all whether it would favor NFC or a Bluetooth LE (low-energy) or even QR code based payment token through that gateway.

Anandtech thinks the square chip is more likely to be the touch-and-display controller combo necessary to make the next iPhone’s in-cell touchscreen possible. That’s a lot of science that ultimately says while Apple may very well adopt NFC someday, they’re not going to be doing it this way this year. And Jim Dalrymple, who has connections within Apple, agrees: not going to happen this year.

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  • ddevito

    Of course Android was the first with NFC. Google should have patented it then sue the pants off of Apple. But Google isn’t evil like that.

    perhaps they should be.

  • trrosen

    Of course Android was the first with NFC. Google should have patented it then sue the pants off of Apple. But Google isn’t evil like that.

    NFC is a jointly developed standard that google had no part in. The first NFC phone was a Nokia flip phone released in 2006 a year before even the iPhone.

  • trrosen

    The question of course is… Why would you purposely leave a touchscreen controller unshielded? It’s left unshielded and placed in the area of that would be under the glass portions of the shell. I have to believe it is some kind of RF chip.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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