Apple has been wavering on whether to integrate near field communication in its phones and tablets for years. Now evidence emerges from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the technology company could use NFC to activate device-to-device data syncing.
Similar to the S-Beam feature found on some Samsung Galaxy smartphones, according to Apple Insider, which first identified patent No. 8,458,363, the "System and method for simplified data transfer" describes ways to use wireless to sync data between two electronic devices. The patent calls "for the use of NFC components, which have yet to appear in Apple's product lineup."
Apple remains quiet about its use of automatic identification technology. But when it came time to integrate technology to power its payment system, the company chose ISIS, rather than NFC, which Google relies on for Google Wallet.
Berg Insights pegs about 7.5 million mobile wallet consumers in North America at the end of 2012, completing in-store payments of an aggregated 500 million. The analyst firm attributes the high number of users and transactions almost exclusively to the success of Starbucks' application for mobile payments, with around 7 million users at the end of last year.
Several initiatives will have a significant impact on the NFC market, according to Berg Insight. The number of active mobile wallet users will reach 29 million; and in-store payment volume, $44 billion in 2017.