One of the most exciting new features of the iPhone 6 is the new “near field communication” (NFC) chip that allows customers to make payments simply by holding their phone near a sensor.
But in an email to Cult of Mac, Apple revealed that the new NFC chip in the iPhone 6 will only be used for one thing: Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments feature in iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch.
Instead of opening up the NFC technology to developers, as Samsung does with its range of NFC-enabled smartphones, Apple has closed off its NFC technology and reserved it for the company’s new payment system.
Developers are free to make use of the NFC chips found on hundreds of Android phones, but Apple has taken a drastically different approach to NFC.
It’s likely that Apple may be limiting the use of its new NFC chip as a security measure. During the iPhone 6 presentation, Apple was keen to detail how secure Apple Pay will be, noting that card data is stored on a separate “secure element” on the phone.
Apple seems to be saying its NFC system will be super-secure in large part because it is closed to third party apps and developers. (With the implication, fair or not, that Android’s system is less secure because it’s open.)
According to CNET, developers eager to make use of the iPhone 6 may be in luck, just not for some time. Apple confirmed to the site that the NFC chip is limited to Apple Pay only for one year, but they did not indicate whether the company would continue to ban developers from accessing it after that time.