Each year, we hear rumours that Apple will finally add Near Field Communication (NFC) to the iPhone. As it turns out 2014 isn’t any different, since we’re seeing a ton of indicators that the tech could appear in Apple’s iPhone 6.
NFC is a technology that allows you to share information or perform an action by simply tapping your phone against another compatible device or sensor.
It’s most commonly used for making payments with your phone or for sharing photos or contacts with another phone by tapping the two devices together.
Many manufacturers behind today’s biggest Android phones, including Samsung, have been putting NFC in their gadgets for years. But we have yet to see the technology really take off.
Samsung’s S Beam feature, for example, which allows you to share content by tapping two Samsung phones together back-to-back, is powered by NFC. It was originally introduced back in 2012 with the Galaxy S3.
The latest leak connecting NFC to the iPhone 6 comes from the Chinese forum Weibo, where Apple repair service GeekBar posted what it claims is a schematic for a storage chip that will supposedly be inside the iPhone 6 (via 9to5Mac).
This isn’t to be confused with the A8, which will presumably be Apple’s processor for the next set of iPhones and iPads. The schematic shown in this leak is likely for a flash storage chip that’s used for storing things like music and photos in your iPhone.
As 9to5Mac points out, the PN6V5 model number visible in the document is associated with an NFC chip made by NXP Corp., the company that also makes the iPhone 5’s M7 motion co-processor. This hints that the next iPhone will support NFC.
It’s important to note that this schematic doesn’t appear to be visibly associated with Apple or any of its suppliers, so there’s a chance that it isn’t related to the iPhone 6 at all.
This is far from the first time we’ve heard that the iPhone 6 will support NFC. Back in June, VentureBeat reported that a source close to the situation said NFC and wireless charging support would be among the iPhone 6’s new features.
The publication noted that Apple was ready to build NFC into the iPhone 5s, but decided not to because the mobile payments space wasn’t “mature” enough just yet. In 2012, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller told AllThingsD that NFC doesn’t present “a solution to a current problem.”
But now, it’s possible that the company has had a change of heart. Numerous reports have suggested that Apple is preparing to get into the mobile payments space. For example, back in May 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple is readying its own mobile payments platform for buying luxury goods.
Gurman also reported that mobile payments could be part of a new plan Apple’s new retail leader Angela Ahrendts has to shake up the company’s brick-and-mortar presence. If that is the case, then it seems plausible that Apple would build NFC, the most common technology used in mobile payment systems, into its iPhone.
We expect to learn more about the iPhone 6 in the next few weeks, as Apple is rumoured to be hosting an event on Sept. 9 to introduce its next smartphone.
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