"NFC", "iPhone NFC", "iPhone Near Field Communication", "Near Field Communication"

image source: Pocket-lint

The big announcement this morning from Apple was the release of the iPhone 5. This time around the rumours were pretty close to the mark. We got a bigger screen, a better camera (front facing and back), a much quick A6 processor, LTE Network that actually works anywhere in the world & a new smaller dock connector.

But there is one thing that has left us scratching our heads… Where is the Near Field Communication (NFC)?

What is NFC? 

NFC is a technology that’s getting a lot of coverage recently, thanks to its inclusion in the Google Nexus S.

"NFC", "Near Field Communication", "Google Smartphone"

And one in five smartphones will feature NFC tech by 2014,according to forecasts by Juniper Research.

But what is it, and what’s it good for?

The first thing to know is that NFC is actually not new tech. It’s an evolution of the radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which has been used for years as the basis for the London Underground’s Oyster cards, where you simply tap your Oyster card on a pad to pay for your journey.

NFC extends the capabilities of RFID, though it’s still compatible with the older technology, and should be able to do more than just take payments. NFC’s development is overseen to a degree by the NFC Forum, which publishes specifications and has developed a certification scheme for ensuring that different NFC devices work with one another.

The Forum’s members include lots of electronics manufacturers, as well as most major mobile operating systems, including Android, Symbian and RIM (in case you’re wondering, Apple isn’t on the list, and NFC Forum director Debbie Arnold says the organisation is “keeping an eye out” for the iPhone manufacturer, but declined to comment on whether there had been any contact already).

Uses for NFC

There are three different use cases for NFC, which Debbie Arnold describes as “sharing”, “pairing” and “transactions”. Technically, these are known as “reader/writer”, “peer-to-peer” and “card emulation” respectively.

So the question must be asked. The omission of NFC in the iPhone 5, was this a mistake?


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