Mobile industry's service to consumers is getting better with time. A new report shows that Apple is planning to enable a feature in iPhone and iPad to facilitate purchases directly through these devices.
The director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group told Bloomberg that Apple’s next generation iPhone and iPad will see near-field communication (NFC) being introduced on the handsets. The new technology lets the mobile device owners make mobile payments as an alternative to cash and credit cards.
NFC is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology which enables the exchange of data between devices within a distance range of 10 centimeters. This service is expected to be featured in next generation iPhone (possible iPhone 5) going to AT&T and iPad 2, according to Doherty.
The benefits of the new technology are many. Consumers can use it for mobile ticketing in public transport, like a Mobile Phone Boarding Pass, and make payments for debit and credit cards. Future uses may include electronic ticketing like airline ticketing, buying concert and event tickets, electronic money transfer, act as travel card, identity documents and Mobile Commerce, an ability to conduct commerce using a mobile device involving the transfer of ownerships and rights to use goods and services. The service can also act as electronic keys similar to physical car keys, house and hotel room keys. Even Bluetooth, WI-Fi or Ultra-wideband can be initiated and configured.
Nokia, the largest maker of mobile phones, has pushed NFC adoption for years but with Apple coming into the game, many things will change. The NFC-enabled handsets include Nokia C7-00, Nokia 6216 Classic, Nokia 6212 Classic, Nokia 6131 NFC, Nokia 3220 + NFC Shell, Samsung S5230 Tocco Lite/Star/Player One/Avila, Samsung SGH-X700 NFC, Samsung D500E, SAGEM my700X Contactless, LG 600V contactless, Motorola L7 (SLVR), Benq T80, Sagem Cosyphone and Google Nexus S at present.
During an announcement made at the Web 2.0 Summit on November 15 2010, Eric Schmidt said Gingerbread OS platform will support NFC and the first handset to adorn this technology would be Google Nexus S.
The new technology has its flaws too. Although NFC can be used to configure Bluetooth like technologies, it is not faster enough to set up like Bluetooth low energy but sets up faster than standard Bluetooth. Present NFC technology data transfer rate is much slower than standard Bluetooth, where the data transfer rate of NFC stands at 424 kbit/s which is much slower than Bluetooth V 2.1 which stands at 2.1 Mbit/s. NFC generally requires low power similar to Bluetooth V 4.0 Low Energy protocol but NFC power consumption is greater than Bluetooth V 4.0 Low Energy with an unpowered device. Also the new technology introduced in the device may be vulnerable for eavesdropping, data modification, relay attack and when the mobile is lost.
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, thinks that the mobile payment stream would give Apple ways to make money in a new way. The analyst said: “Apple doesn't have a revenue stream except for the goods that you buy, so this makes sense. I can see a lot of [retailers] taking to this, and Apple leveraging [the iPhone's and iPad's] popularity. Apple pays a minimum transaction fee on every iTunes purchase, so by pushing the gift card, it's an advantage to Apple. That would make mobile payments work better for small payments, whether it's music or apps or a single issue of a magazine. Tie Apple mobile payments to iTunes accounts for online purchases, and Apple could get a share of everything.”