Don’t count NFC out of Apple’s mobile payment plans just yet

Apple and NFC


Apple(s aapl) filed a patent on Thursday that could yet bring NFC, or near field communications, to its iPhone. The patent describes a point-of-sale transaction that uses NFC to establish a secure link with a purchasing device. That device then uses a different wireless interface to complete the transaction.

NFC iPhone

9to5Mac spotted the patent filing and suggests that Apple is simply keeping its options open for wireless payments but will instead use iBeacon technology. I don’t think that’s a likely scenario. While iBeacon is meant for nearby location use-cases, the definition of “nearby” is more like a 100 feet radius. That’s useful for targeting ads more than it is for payment transactions.

Unlike other smartphone makers, Apple has yet to include an NFC chip in its mobile devices. Android(s goog) device makers have included it in some models both for mobile wallets — see my first NFC transaction in 2011…

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