iWallet: Apple To Integrate NFC With iOS?


Apple, which endorses near field communication technology, will likely integrate NFC into the next version of its operating system -- allowing consumers to make contactless purchases and advertisers to serve up content and ads on mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad, according to Richard Doherty, research director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, a technology assessment and market consultancy.

Google announced plans late last year to integrate NFC into its Android operating system Gingerbread. There's no better way to grab a piece of mobile commerce. Forrester Research suggests that mobile marketing spend will surpass $1 billion as consumers spend billions via mobile devices.

Speculation had pointed to Apple choosing a proprietary contactless technology that allows consumers to make electronic payments, but economics and U.S. antitrust issues make it unlikely, Doherty says.



"Anyone who says they know for certain Apple's product plans is lying to you," he explains. "We have strong reason to believe their NFC endorsement will lead to use."

Doherty believes Apple will integrate NFC with iOS to support the technology across many of its products. He bases that conclusion on spending numerous hours in "boring standards meetings" pertaining to wireless technologies to stay informed.

"We spoke with people at companies in Taiwan, China and Japan who work on products they expect Apple to launch," Doherty says. "Some of them hope to become contractors and subcontractors. They do the work already. Not just for Apple, but hope Google and others will come along."

Doherty explains that contract manufacturers such as Foxconn build products in hopes of getting a congratulatory email or phone call from Apple and others awarding them the contract to build the devices. It's quite typical, he says. Apple buys products from a half-dozen Wi-Fi chip suppliers, but none know until a few weeks or months, at best, prior to the product release that they have been selected. Evidently it's one way the Cupertino, Calif. company keeps supply chain processes under wraps.


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