According to Taiwanese production sources, both Microsoft and Apple are planning on including NFC (Near Field Communications) — the technology in your wave-to-pay credit cards — in their smartphone platforms. So, if Apple does include NFC in the next iPhone, what will that mean for users? Probably not much at first.
As with all new technology, it’s hard to get people to implement it until there is enough of an install base in the first place — a chicken and egg problem. What right-thinking company would start installing NFC transmitters before a significant number of people have NFC-enabled phones? None. Well, maybe they would if a strong force in the retail market led the way.
After giving it a bit of thought, I’ve come to a pretty interesting concept. If Apple is indeed including NFC in their next generation of iPhones, they are in a prime position to set the bar high. What if their entire retail presence was decked out in NFC transmitters? Apple is already on the path to making self-checkout easier. NFC could be their next step.
Another route Apple could take would be to partner with a big chain like Walmart or Target to enable NFC-assisted tasks. If the Target app could give you information about products and promotions by tapping your phone against a display, I think it could really add a lot to the experience, enough that Apple would consider the technology worthwhile, even. I can’t wait to see what happens.