iPhone to tap NFC, rumours say
More than just m-commerce, say insiders
More rumours are doing the rounds that Apple has NFC plans for next year's iPhone, this time with the intention of bringing the iPhone even closer to Cupertino's desktop platform.
Readers of El Reg might not be surprised by Cult Of Mac's news that Apple plans to embed Near Field Communications into the next iPhone, but according to the anonymous sources quoted, this time it is about using an iPhone as an identity token to access cloud-based computing services though integration with OS X Lion.
The idea is that an iPhone will store passwords, bookmarks and associated data, and share those with a Lion-equipped Mac when brought within the 10cm range over which NFC technology can communicate. The user can then interact with the Mac as though it were their own desktop, with the credentials vanishing when the iPhone is taken out of range.
None of this is new - Sun was issuing employees with cards that performed much the same function 15 years ago, though without the wireless component that Apple has been lately so assiduously patenting.
Not that Sun's precedence makes it any less likely that Apple is planning such a thing. Apple's forte lies in making old ideas workable, and once Steve Jobs has decided to embed NFC technology onto every iPhone he'll want to squeeze all the value he can out of it.
One of the biggest barriers to NFC adoption has been the lack of a killer application - a reason for users to demand the technology. NFC is good for lots of things, but it is essential for none of them. When Apple launches the technology, it will want to have a whole host of applications so that no one feels they can do without it.
It will, no doubt, be N-Mark technology that Apple deploys, even if it means paying Nokia for the licence. Apple won't try to define its own radio standard when N-Mark offers compatibility with existing proximity systems and an architecture that permits the hardware distributor to control the entire value chain. ®
Apple has knack
for properly implementing stuff that others have tried to do earlier but in an utterly kack-handed fashion.
It's all very good pointing out that Uhgg invented the wheel first but if Uhgg spent all his subsequent efforts on trying work out how to cook his meals on it then how much credit does he really deserve?
Nokia and NFC
@Steven: Nokia 6131 already does NFC, http://europe.nokia.com/find-products/devices/nokia-6131-nfc
It's very much chicken and egg, and as the article suggests, finding a killer app ... it would be possible to have your iPhone or Nokia phone act as your London Oyster card or contactless payment system, but why would you really *need* to?
Having my windows settings etc. on my mobile phone could be cool ... sit down at a terminal somewhere, have a dialog box pop up saying "you appear to be Chris, please verify your ID" and a passphrase or swype code or something on the phone itself (to stop you trying out your neighbour's phone details!) and then having my icon layout, my bookmarks etc. would be fabulous ... but is it enough?
Using your iPhone/iPad to provide a multi-touch screen for your desktop machine could also be cool ... but doesn't require NFC, it could be done with wifi or bluetooth.
Or, alternately, I can impersonate someone at all their online locations by simply borrowing their phone for a few minutes ?
Not a good plan.
of course, the innovstion would be getting the chip to do something...
"Steve Jobs thinks the Cloud Is The Future"
Does he? When did he say that?*
Steve Jobs' vision seems to be what it always was; which involves selling a hardware device with some pre-installed software on it.
Maybe by focusing on how much more, the device can suck in and make use of, with each iteration, he's hit a sweet spot in consumer experience (and maybe Apple are having to provide some degree of on line service, just to join up the reasons for having the device in the first place) but its definitely about the device, at Cupertino, and not about the 'Cloud'. On the whole, 'The Cloud' isn't profitable - or relies on things like ads revenue - and that's not a Cupertino way of operating.
Even iTunes was all about the iPod, and not about iTunes - regardless of much it ended up shaking up the music industry in the end.
*"The Cloud" is actually the term promoted by Microsoft for on line services, and it certainly seems that, at Redmond these days, you either think "the Cloud Is The Future" or you're looking for a new job.