So I got an iPhone 4 and have had a pretty good run with it. The device has done everything I thought it would do and so far has never let me down which includes dropped calls that a lot of people have had issue with. I am also eyeing the new iPad 2 when it launches hopefully in the next few months. But what is new and exciting about the 5th generation iPhone rumored out sometime this July if Apple holds true to their launch schedule? Now granted it’s early for rumors, but the only tangible rumor I could come up with was that the iPhone 5 would come with NFC. So what does NFC mean? Well yes, it does mean the National Football Conference if you are here in the United States and a Football fan, but the NFC I am talking about is “Near Field Communication”. I could regurgitate the Wiki Explanation but it is short enough and worth the read so I will copy and paste it:

“Near Field Communication or NFC, is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices over about a 10 centimeter (around 4 inches) distance.[1] The technology is a simple extension of the ISO/IEC 14443 proximity-card standard (proximity card, RFID) that combines the interface of a smartcard and a reader into a single device. An NFC device can communicate with both existing ISO/IEC 14443 smartcards and readers, as well as with other NFC devices, and is thereby compatible with existing contactless infrastructure already in use for public transportation and payment. NFC is primarily aimed at usage in mobile phones.”

Okay, pretty boring huh? Short range secure data transmission most likely would be used at Point-of-Sale for credit card transactions. Remember seeing all those commercials and fast pass signs at gas stations? It never really took off here in the United States. So why would Apple be rumored in adding that feature to the new iPhone 5? I am a frequent traveler for business purposes and cannot see this catching on. I don’t think I have an issue with the security of it so much as I just think it remains easier to have a credit card.

So for me, NFC is not a selling point and I hope Apple brings something more than NFC to the iPhone 5. (Like a larger screen for example!) But the real question is what do you think about NFC? Is it a selling point for you? The Nexus S folks have it on their devices but there were a lot of other reasons to buy the device other than NFC. This might have been a good prediction for 2011.

Photo via Cult of Mac

8 COMMENTS

  1. The security thing worries me. I mean, why can’t anyone just pass by with a reader? I’m not used to it in our lives enough to trust it yet but I have a bigger concern…my damn battery dies and poof- I can’t get lunch.
    I say this now and within 18 months I won’t understand how we ever lived without out and will mock the phone that’s released without it:)

  2. Agree on all points. It’s coming and there is nothing we can do about it. But I certainly don’t want to be the first in line to try it out. So I won’t mind waiting for Version 2.

  3. If I understand the technology right, it requires so little juice that the circuit is actually powered by the vendor’s reader, not your phone battery. When the circuit enters the magnetic field, it gets enough juice from the field to send it’s signal.
    At least, that’s how it work for the automotive security tied to many keys…
    I agree on the security concerns and lack of practicality. I’ve been using one credit are my whole adult life – how can this be so much better?

  4. so I guess we won’t be able to use the phone in public places because they will be snatched right out of our hands and then OOPS, there goes our bank accounts, visa, mastercard, discover, amex,…. “let me call the credit card companies to report” “oh $h!t, my phone got stoten.”
    Noooo thank you! Let me be the first one to opt-out. I’ll keep my CC in my wallet, thank you very much!

  5. I doubt even if someone jacked your phone they would be able to get the information out. It would be encrypted plus being able to remotely wipe your phone would take a lot of worry out of the equation for me. My problem is not everyone is going to take it, so you will still need credit cards. It is just as easy to get my credit card out of my wallet as it is to fire up an app on a phone, so what is the advantage here?

  6. @Doug Smith: I haven’t read much into NFC but I didn’t think you would have to fire up an app to use it. I thought you would just wave your phone above the CC machine and it reads it just like the ExpressPay on some of the current credit cards.
    Sorry for thinking the WP7 way “being simple” :) Didn’t realize we weren’t talking about WP7.

  7. @adp: As far as I know the Nexus S is the only device that has it currently, I fired an email to Simmons and asked him how it worked. My article was referencing Apple and their including it on the iPhone 5 which no doubt will be an app. All I can say is that it has to have some controls and ability to turn it off and on.

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