iPhone 5’s NFC snub will keep technology out of mainstream

Pity Apple didn’t come to the party with NFC in the iPhone 5 as that would have driven the innovation from app developers and given the mobile payment market the impetus it needs. Passbook, as useful as it will be in iOS 6, will not be enough to cover mobile payment requirements.


UPDATED: As with most of the rumors about the iPhone 5, Apple’s (s aapl) decision to forgo near field communication (NFC) for its latest smartphone proved true as well. It’s not surprising though it deals a setback to the short-range wireless technology, which is still waiting for its breakout moment.

Apple had plenty of reasons not to include NFC. With its focus on getting the device as thin and light as possible, adding an NFC chip would have been that much more of an impediment. And more likely, Apple is not convinced now is the time to adopt it. While we’re seeing NFC appear in more high-end phones, like the Galaxy S III and Nokia 920 (s nok), consumers don’t have many applications and use cases for the technology and merchants still need to make more investments in hardware to handle NFC payments.

We’ve suggested that Apple could…

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Now boarding with Apple’s Passbook: two more major airlines

Lets hope Qantas and Virgin have plans for Passbook and Australia as well.


It looks like United Airlines (s ual) isn’t the only airline that will integrate boarding passes with Apple’s(s AAPL) new Passbook feature coming in iOS 6. Both American Airlines (s amr) and Delta Airlines (s dal) are likely on board as well, according to travel industry blog Skift.

Passbook, if you’ll recall, is an Apple-created app that can hold digital boarding passes, rail tickets, movie and sporting event tickets, hotel confirmation info, coupons, gift cards and more. We got a preview in June, which showed United and Amtrak tickets, as well as Starbucks (s sbux) digital gift cards and a Target (s tgt) reward card in use. Obviously the more businesses that integrate with Passbook, the more useful the feature will be.

It’s not intended to be just a central repository; it’s supposed to be a smart tool. Passbook is location-aware and time-sensitive: when you arrive at the airport or movie…

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The Battle For Smartphone Supremacy – Infographic

The Main Street Analyst

How often do you use your smartphone to peruse a website? According to a recent survey, over the course of the past year visits to leading ecommerce websites from consumers’ mobile devices have skyrocketed. And the battle for smartphone supremacy is intensifying.

The infographic below illustrates the direction in which the mobile commerce is headed, and shows the race between iPhone and Android.

Digital marketing technology company Monetate issued the report from which this information is extracted. The report analyzed more than 100 million online shopping experiences to come up with the data below.

Have you shopped more frequently from your mobile device in the past year?

Source: Mashable.com, Monetate

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Why talk down NFC for the iPhone 5? It’s in the trough of disillusionment

Mashable came out today with another report on “9 Most believable rumours about the iPhone 5“.  Eight of them were positive new features expected on the new iPhone to be announced by Apple on September 12th, one was negative – No NFC (Near Field Communications).  This quoted the Anandtech article from a couple of weeks ago that thought that the metal back of the new iPhone would stop NFC from being included as there was no room for the antenna.  This, despite the fact that Apple was in a great position to become a major player in Mobile Payments using NFC.

But, as seen in my recent post here, Apple has a patent that allows the NFC antenna to be imbedded in the front Touchscreen – a more natural place for the NFC antenna anyway from a user perspective.  If anyone bothers to read the comments (August 31st) on that article they would also notice that this patent has also been commented on as the reason why Apple will release NFC and it will be front facing.

Why is everyone still sticking to this (false) line, that the new iPhone will not ship with NFC? Well, I think I have the answer. In August Gartner released it’s annual Hype Cycle Report for Emerging Technologies (see picture above).  The previous years Hype Cycle report had placed NFC at the peak of Inflated Expectations, but now NFC and NFC Payments had slipped down from that tipping point to the Trough of Disillusionment, with 2-5 years before it becomes generally excepted technology on the Slope of Enlightenment.

People are over the hype. NFC has been talked about for a number of years now, it had been expected in the last 2 Apple iPhones and has now been released in a number of Android phones, including the new Galaxy range from Samsung and the Blackberry from RIM.  The Google Wallet has been developed for Android phones with NFC capabilities (now in Release 2).  Visa and MasterCard and a number of large retailers have rolled out contactless payment terminals at Point of Sale.  Everything is lining up for a major change in payments technology that will come with Mobile Payments and NFC.

NFC is the Tipping Point for Mobile Payments says Gartner, who envision a Cashless World, with every transaction an electronic one  “This will provide enterprises with efficiency and traceability, and consumers with convenience and security. The technologies on the 2012 Hype Cycle that will enable parts of this scenario include NFC payment, mobile over-the-air (OTA) payment and biometric authentication methods. Related technologies will also impact the payment landscape, albeit more indirectly. These include the Internet of Things, mobile application stores and automatic content recognition. The tipping point will be surpassed when NFC payment and mobile OTA payment technologies mature.”

Nothing will give Mobile Payments a greater push up the slope, than Apple coming out with NFC included in the iPhone 5 and linked to the iOS6 Passbook application with coupons, tickets and loyalty schemes.  It’s coming, watch this space.