The iPhone may soon become the preferred payment method for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) users around the world.
The Cupertino, California, company is working with Dutch chip manufacturer NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ:NXPI) to bring secure near-field communication to the iPhone 6, unnamed sources told the Financial Times on Friday. NFC, a wireless data technology, would enable the iPhone to make mobile payments and communicate with other devices with just a tap.
This is the latest in a series of signs that point to Apple getting serious about NFC and mobile payments. Chinese repair company GeekBar previously leaked schematics that pointed to the company using NXP’s PN65 chip to provide NFC capabilities for the iPhone. The Dutch company has previously worked with Apple to provide the M7 motion-tracking chip now found on the iPhone 5S.
Should Apple include NFC on the iPhone 6, website Daring Fireball’s John Gruber suggests that the iPhone 6 will also feature a new secure enclave to store credit card and payment data safely on the smartphone. It has previously used secure enclave technology in the iPhone 5S’ A7 processor to provide safe storage for Touch ID fingerprint data.
While rumors of an iPhone with NFC have circulated for years, the time could be right to implement the technology on Apple’s smartphone. With 800 million iTunes accounts in its portfolio, Apple already has part of the infrastructure in place to rollout a mobile payment solution.
The other part is taking care of itself. NFC adoption has been stifled for years because of a lack of support for the technology. But that’s set to change in 2015 when U.S. merchants have an October deadline to replace their older credit card terminals with ones that support EMV, a special “chip” standard that has been widely adopted around the world. Many of these newer readers will also support NFC, giving Apple the infrastructure needed to support its rumored wireless payment system.
Apple could also extend the technology to its rumored iWatch, according to a patent application filed by the company, which proposes using shared circuitry for NFC and wireless charging on a wearable device.
Thursday, the tech giant officially announced its Sept. 9 media event, where it is expected to unveil a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6L along with a new wearable device called the iWatch.