Many of the rumors surrounding the iPhone 5 in recent months have claimed that the device won’t feature near-field communications technology, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t get it on your iPhone. One South Korean carrier is offering an NFC service to its customers with a new ‘Apple Certified’ case.
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Ever since we exclusively learned that Apple was planning to use near-field communications not just to enact mobile retail payments but to enable an “>ambitious remote computing service that will allow you to literally carry around your Mac on your iPhone, we’ve been excited to see NFC hit the iPhone.
But contrary to previous reports, don’t expect it this year. Apple’s plans for NFC are too ambitious to realize before 2012, according to a new report.
I’m not sure this is news to anyone, but Apple is working on an iPhone with a Near Field Communications chip, the New York Times has confirmed.
Whether the prototype iPhone is the next iPhone, the NYT’s source couldn’t say.
This all sounds a lot like our NFC iPhone story last week, wherein our source said Apple is working on several NFC-equipped prototypes. Of course, an NFC iPhone has been rumored for some time.
What the Times brings to the story is not one, but two sources:
According to two people with knowledge of the inner workings of a coming iteration of the Apple iPhone — although not necessarily the next one — a chip made by Qualcomm for the phone’s processor will also include near-field communication technology, known as N.F.C. This technology enables short-range wireless communications between the phone and an N.F.C reader, and can be used to make mobile payments. It is unclear which version of an iPhone this technology would be built into.
New York Times: The Technology Behind Making Mobile Payments a Reality
With all the rumors about NFC being in the next iPhone — or not in the next iPhone — we have a few more details about Apple’s remote computing plans that revolve around the technology.
According to a source close to the company, Apple is busy testing several prototype iPhones with near field communications (NFC). Unfortunately, the source has no knowledge of when Apple will actually introduce the technology in the iPhone. It could be the next model, due this summer, or next year’s, they said.
However, Apple is working out the kinks in an ambitious remote computing system — and a key component utilizes the recently launched Mac App Store.
As we previously reported, Apple is working on a system that allows users to log into another computer using an NFC-equipped iPhone. The iPhone pairs with the host machine, and loads the user’s files and settings over the net. It’s as though the user is sitting at their own machine at home.
We’ve already reported how Apple is working on a remote computing system that will be enabled by the iPhone 5.
Equipped with a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip, the iPhone 5 may allow user to load their Home folders on guest Macs when they travel, or log in at school or work. All the user would have to do is tap their iPhone 5 on a NFC-equipped Mac, and the machine would load their Home folder files, settings and preferences.
But if Apple equipped all of its products with NFC chips, which are used for short-range authentication, the technology could be used for super-easy set-up of a new Apple gear, or for easily transferring files and media between different Apple devices.
For example, users could easily connect a new iPad to their home Wi-Fi network, say, just by bringing the tablet within four inches of a NFC-equipped AirPort base station.
“Imagine you touch an AirPort with a new iPad and the Wi-Fi is connected — with full security — in less than a second,” said Gerald Madlmayr, a NFC expert based in Vienna. “No configuration is necessary any more. This makes this technology pretty useful.”
When future iPhones gain near field communications technology, the way we use our mobile phones is going to undergo a dramatic evolution. Imagine being able to pay for a cup of coffee by waving it in front of a cash register, or even taking your entire Mac’s file directory with you on the road and automatically transferring it over to a new machine just by bumping it against the display.
That’s all plenty cool, but another way NFC will make the iPhone a cooler device is by building-in a lot of the functionality of apps like Bump, which allows you to share your contact information with another person who has the Bump app installed simply by brushing iPhones together.
I hope NFC also enables another cool function that Bump has just integrated into their app — : music sharing — only with more sophistication. The most recent update to Bump allows you to specify songs from your iTunes collection that you want to share with a friend. It doesn’t do this by squirting the MP3 to your “bumpee” however: instead, Bump stays on the right side of the music labels by plucking the song information from your MP3’s tags and redirecting them to a YouTube clip of the same song. From there, your bumpee is free to enjoy the song and if he likes it, buy it directly from ITunes.
It’s a very clever implementation, but imagine if Apple baked this into iTunes properly via NFC, complete with MP3 squirting. Microsoft’s Zune has had something like that for awhile, but I’d just kill to see it on an iPod.