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Apple will not introduce NFC until next year

Officially blames lack of standards, but reports say it is working on its own iTunes/NFC platform for 2012


Published: 14 March, 2011

READ MORE: Apple | iPhone | NFC | iOS

When Apple hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as its m-commerce chief last summer, it seemed to be jumping on the NFC mobile payments bandwaggon along with Google's Android. But the contactless swipe technology will not, after all, appear in the next iPhone, with Apple citing its concerns that there are no mature industry standards yet.

According to UK newspaper The Independent, Apple has warned executives at several UK cellcos that it would not include NFC in the forthcoming iPhone 5. "Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry," a source said, although it is assumed that the vendor will continue to work on NFC, for a future product or upgrade. Like Google, Apple could benefit from a rise in mobile payments, because it could tie such activities into its app store and iTunes, and leverage the vast amounts of customer data it stores to add value. It could also save the credit card processing fees it currently pays on music, video and apps purchases.

Google added NFC to Android 2.3.3 in February, allowing handset to be swiped over special readers, or 'bumped' together, to exchange payments and other transactions such as accessing transportation. RIM has also said most of its new products will incorporate NFC by the later part of this year. And many operators are working on NFC-based commerce and location services.

The reports indicate that Apple's delay may give it a short term disadvantage, but will signify a more ambitious approach even than Google's. Notwithstanding the talk about waiting for standards, in fact the firm is said to be "working on its own NFC proposition" that would make use of iTunes, and this would likely turn up in next year's iPhone.

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