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  • Apple Readying RFID Enabled iPhone?

    Einar Rosenberg, Chief Technology Officer of Narian Technologies, is being widely quoted today about speculation that Apple is currently tinkering with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip for possible inclusion in the next generation iPhone.

    Had to share this news. A highly reliable source has informed me that Apple has built some prototypes of the next gen iPhone with an RFID reader built in and they have seen it in action. So its not full NFC but its a start for real service discovery and I'm told that the reaction was very positive that we can expect this in the next gen iPhone.
    But of the many things Apple is likely working on these days (hopefully everything from a tablet to a physical keyboard for gamers) how high of a priority should an RFID chip be? To some, its the highest priority imaginable. To others, its a gateway to functionality that, while cool, just doesn't seem to fit with the iPhone.

    From MacRumors:

    RFID is a catch-all term that describes a vast array of technologies and standards. RFID tags can be relatively large and battery-powered, such as ones used in toll collection, to small "passive" tags that can be embedded into credit cards, drivers licenses (called "Enhanced Drivers Licenses" in the U.S.), passports, or stuck onto a piece of merchandise.
    Apple's chief impetus for seeking an RFID enabled iPhone (and that's assuming they really are) is almost certainly the potential that would be born of turning the device into a convenient payment tool - a situation that essentially helps the iPhone further reduce the patience of on-the-go consumers who can already barely stand the wait for their soft drink to be dispensed after dropping a few quarters into the vending machine.

    Sounds good to me.

    In some parts of the world, but primarily in Asia, technology has been used in this fashion for quite some time. So, in this regard, Apple isn't ahead of the curve, it's behind. So if successfully implemented, RFID capabilities could make the iPhone far more attractive to the masses than it already is.

    Currently, cell-phone usage of RFID technology is centered around Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC has three main usage scenarios: a phone acting as an RFID tag; a phone acting as an RFID reader; and peer to peer communication (P2P).
    Apple's potential foray into this arena could conceivable change the landscape of mobile technology in the US. And that's exactly why I buy into the rumors that Apple wants and will probably roll out an RFID-enabled next generation iPhone in 2010.

    iPhone RFID: object-based media from timo on Vimeo.

    Image via Barcodesinc.com
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Readying RFID Enabled iPhone? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 25 Comments
    1. uncle_don's Avatar
      uncle_don -
      It's about time a US cell phone company got serious about this technology.

    1. iphone4idiots's Avatar
      iphone4idiots -
      Payment tool would be cool, but I'd rather see the radio chip work for satellite radio, but not sure if it would?
    1. xmanix's Avatar
      xmanix -
      and were sure this isn't just hidden in the 1st gen iPhone-3gs models ? j/k
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      Epic Fail since we just discussed the guy sshing password and 3.0.1 for patching text security and now apple cops go after code hackers??
    1. Buckmaster's Avatar
      Buckmaster -
      Heck with all that, I want a radio chip that will pick up the local radio stations. Phone/Camera/Internet/MP3 Player/Radio= SWEET
    1. LongN3ck's Avatar
      LongN3ck -
      On the Visa app in the image: Please enter your PIN number: personal identification number number. Its a pet peeve of mine.
    1. silent1643's Avatar
      silent1643 -
      this scares me
    1. Kukag's Avatar
      Kukag -
      Err this kind of information being transfered over a network wirelessly, just seems extremely unsecure.. I dunno I don't know anything about this RFID chip or anything but I hope its not as exploitable as I think it is..

    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kukag View Post
      Err this kind of information being transfered over a network wirelessly, just seems extremely unsecure.. I dunno I don't know anything about this RFID chip or anything but I hope its not as exploitable as I think it is..

      I agree. This doesn't sound secure, I'd be paranoid using it. On the other hand if this kind of thing has been used for awhile in Asia and they haven't had any problems then maybe it could be really useful and safe. I think Apple could be spending their time making the little changes that their consumers really want instead of this extravagant feature though.
    1. ty22's Avatar
      ty22 -
      How about giving the iPhone the basic features like customizing first, before rocket science capabilities?
    1. Masterz1337's Avatar
      Masterz1337 -
      This is probably one of the reasons they are going to war against Jailbreaking now.
    1. vedavis's Avatar
      vedavis -
      Having worked with RFID applications, the RFID technology in use today has the same risks as it would in the iPhone, like losing your card. And if a person feels that the risk is too great, don't use it. Gotta move forward.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      This is a close proximity tech. As far as using it for a CC transaction you would put your pin in the phone and it would activate the RFID for a very short period of time to "swipe" and then deactivate...
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      For those of us who use their iphone to contact and sell to customers, this will be a significant plus. We could accept a credit card on the spot, verify, and allow purchase immediately.
    1. ruben00's Avatar
      ruben00 -
      This is close proximity stuff, nothing that would be able to be picked up by the guy sitting across from you on the train, and besides, you would need to put in your pin before the RFID becomes active so no issues there

      Think of it as virtualizing your credit card into your phone. The Japanese have been doing it for years, it's about time the US starts catching up
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      Cool but Apple need to stop putting out new iphone every year. I still have a year and half on my iPhone 3GS contract.
    1. Fallguy's Avatar
      Fallguy -
      I dont dont about everyone else , but my credit card doesnt take up that much space in my wallet . Why Bother with this crap . Work on something more practical for gods sake!
    1. jaylen555's Avatar
      jaylen555 -
      i hope it works on jailbroken phones to
    1. PM5K's Avatar
      PM5K -
      What exactly would you recommend they work in instead? And who is to decide what's practical or not? How many features on the current iPhone might be considered impractical by one person or another?

      I agree though, I don't want Apple doing things on the cutting edge of technology. I don't want a device that adds one more thing it can do and one less thing I need to carry with me, and 640K ought to be enough for anybody.....
    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      this is just another way for someone to steal your card info. they must be working with apple, you steal his identity and well take 10%