Apple Testing iPhone Prototypes with NFC Chips

Submitted by lalit on June 25, 2012 - 12:33pm.

Since Apple showed the PassBook app at WWDC on June 11th, everyone has been talking about iPhone getting NFC (Near Filed Communication) support for payment processing and ticketing. However, there hasn’t been any concrete evidence till now supporting these NFC talks. But that has changed today, as 9to5mac claims that the hardware code dump from preEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2), which revealed few weeks back that the next generation iPhone will have bigger display also has code for NFC controllers and antenna. Seth Weintraub wrote:

Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication (NFC) controllers directly connected to the power management unit (PMU).

The implications here are obviously monstrous. With the recently announced PassBook application (which we detailed prior to its announcement while speculating about an NFC tie-in), Apple will be set to compete with Google Wallet and the similar service Microsoft unveiled last week. Apple could tie in with a payment processor like Citibank’s PayPass system for credit card transactions or it could become a payment processor of sorts with its hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file at iTunes.

It has been rumored for past two years that iPhone will get NFC support and the rumors were really strong before iPhone 4S was launched last year. NFC is a technology that can bring many other functionalities like file sharing, authenticated pairing of devices and not just payment processing. And for the first time the technology looks ready enough for Apple to use in their devices. Will it be in iPhone 5? That is a question only Apple can answer.