Patent Application Latest Clue to Apple’s NFC Ambitions (May 28, 2014)
As speculation grows that Apple will include NFC technology in its next-generation iPhone, another clue came to light last week, when the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application filed by the company for an NFC antenna design. Originally submitted in November 2012, the application is for an antenna that enables NFC signals to be transmitted from the top and bottom of a mobile phone, reducing the need for a user to hold the phone in a particular way when conducting an NFC transaction.
While making it easier to make an NFC transaction might be considered putting the cart before the horse for a company that has thus far been a notable holdout on the technology, several recent developments suggest Apple finally may be ready to embrace NFC. Earlier this month, the company reportedly partnered with Chinese payment card network UnionPay on an initiative that will enable iPhone users to download UnionPay’s payment app and make NFC payments at more than 3 million POS locations in China. That news followed the announcement of a new m-POS platform for Apple Stores that incorporates an iPhone sleeve equipped for NFC. And a January report by the Wall Street Journal claimed Apple was planning to launch a mobile wallet service for its iPhone, iPad and iTunes users, citing sources close to the initiative.
In the wake of these developments, Morgan Stanley analysts predict that NFC will be a “core part” of Apple’s mobile payments strategy, noting that the recent rise of host card emulation will enable the company to develop contactless payment services without incorporating a mobile network operator. The Morgan Stanley report follows a similar prediction from KGI that Apple will include NFC chips in the iPhone 6, which is expected to be released this fall.
See related stories:
- Apple Set to Take Bite out of Payments?
- Apple Adds EMV Features to its In-Store m-POS System
- WSJ: Apple Laying Groundwork for Mobile Payments Platform