Apple’s 10th Retail Anniversary Preparations Could Set The Table For NFC iPhone 5

Apple’s 10th Retail Anniversary Preparations Could Set The Table For NFC iPhone 5

As we reported yesterday, Apple’s planning something absolutely huge at its retail stores across the country this weekend, possibly to celebrate their 10th Apple Store anniversary. But what could it be? A new product or service? Discounts or goodie bags?

Possibly, but another rumor’s starting to form: Apple is prepping for the September launch of the next iPhone by getting their retail stores equipped to take NFC payments.

Boy Genius Report has gotten word that one of the big things Apple might be rolling out on May 22nd is NFC gear being hooked up.

There aren’t many details, and those details only debatably lead down the path of NFC. Apparently, new tables are being installed in stores that have different wiring than Apple’s standard tables. Additionally, Apple’s point-of-sales devices (read: Apple’s iPod Touch based payment terminals used by roving staff to ring you up away from the register) recently went offline for maintenance for an entire day.

Still, if Apple — contrary to the report yesterday — does intend to install near-field communication chips into the next iPhone, enabling it to work as a credit card, it makes sense that Apple would want to have all of its stores capable of taking an iPhone as a form of payment. They need to show both customers and other retailers that using your iPhone as a credit card is a feasible way to shop.

For that to happen, though, Apple would need to be prepared months ahead of time, and get all of the systems’ kinks worked out well before the next iPhone’s rumored September release.

What do you think? Is Apple just installing NFC in its stores, or is there more coming for Apple’s 10th Retail Anniversary besides? Let us know in the comments.

  • Harvey

    Perhaps it’s just a change in the layout and the way products are displayed, to give the stores a fresh look or to improve traffic flow, or both. Right now, at least in the Apple Stores near me, it is very difficult to move around because of the crowd. Rearranging the store seems to be a good idea, and it would require new display materials and a crew to work during the night to move things around. That would account for everything we know about this weekend. In other words, this might not be a new product launch, it might just be interior decorating.

  • Nick J

     Personally I think it could be the launch of OSX Lion 

  • way2workfromhome

    I think, it could be iPhone 5 or 4s

  • Jonathan D. Rowson

     Both comments hold water in my book. While rampant speculation regarding the latest Apple venture has reached a fever pitch in recent years, a simple refresh of the store would make sense, and since Apple is all about uniformity in ALL of it’s stores, it would stand to reason that major refreshes in product placement, shelving, etc would entail closing the ENTIRE line of stores and using such an odd time would enable inclusion of world wide stores at a more feasible time of day.

  • Mrodri0173

    Perhaps the new Ipod Classic?

  • Rob Bowers

    Why would NFC be a requirement for using an iOS device for payments?

    Why not just use an updated Apple Store or iTunes application to authorize payments through my AppleID?

    So, I visit a store, open the Apple Store app, or iTunes and enter a transaction ID that the associate gives me and it pops up a payment authorization tied to my existing account. No receipt necessary. It could even be used as an online payment like Paypal, I get an transaction code from the retailer, enter it into the iTunes or Apple Store app, and Apple sends confirmation to the vendor that payment is assured.

    Security comes by way of the passcode I put on my device (make it mandatory when mobile payments is activated on the device), and I can remote lock the feature from my Mac/PC through MobileMe Find My iPhone interface.

    Now, any store within range of a Wifi or 3G network could use iTunes as a payment authorization in lieu of a credit card, and Apple could take a small % of each transaction for being the payment processor. Vendors simply create an account much like an App Store vendor does. 

    Key is, Apple would need to demand a lower transaction fee than the App Store agreement!

    NFC would simplify all of this by using proximity as an additional security layer, but doesn’t seem to be essential to enabling iPay from an iOS device.

  • Cindon83

     I think Apple is going to make TV’s with built in Apple TV etc…

  • TylerHoj

     Why would Apple set up black curtains to hide whats going on inside for all of its stores just to install equipment? They can do that when the store is closed and no one would know the difference. If it were for informing staff then wouldn’t all staff need to be present? It just seems like something a little more intuitive than some new equipment. 

  • StrayTrader

    NFC sounds like a good guess, but here’s the kicker:  I think an NFC-enabled iPhone is coming sooner than September

  • Carl Muckenhirn

     A company like Apple does not make a big deal out of new Point of Sale terminals. This has all the smell of a BIG DEAL. That, for Apple, means a new product. I’m with those betting on an “iTv” or other named integrated AppleTV and LCD display. The N.C. data farm then is the supplier of the content (along with NetFlix). 

    Or it could be an early iPhone 5, just to blow everyone’s mind… 

  • Felfac

    nope not gonna 1. its still in preview (no GM,final beta etc….) they said summer not spring and theres just no way they can be releasing a major upgrade to the operating system so early ahead of schedule same for the iphone as i want to believe the contrary

  • cleversoap

    Probably not – still in preview and the timing wouldn’t fit with any of the schedules they’ve given. That said it probably won’t be long (months) before we get a solid GM as the features currently in preview are being finished properly left and right…

    As an aside, is that picture of the Apple store in Robina Town Centre? It’s scary to see it empty, every time I walk past it’s chockers, even when they’re closing it’s filled with people doing classes.

  • Nutz320

     Interior decoration arguers, you’re missing one point… the POS devices went offline for a day.

  • zeiche

    John Brownlee,

    WHERE IS NFC?

    You reported on a Boy Genius Report story that turned out to be false. So when BGR fails, you fail. Please provide details, a correction or retraction. Thanks.

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 wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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