This week, Apple will release the iPhone 6, which was only unveiled for the first time last Tuesday. While it’s got plenty of nice features that fans have been waiting quite a while for, one feature – near-field communication, or NFC – isn’t going to be all it’s cracked up to be…at least not right away.
A post on CultofMac today reports that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will have their NFC chips reserved specifically for the new Apple Pay feature, which uses NFC to confirm hands-free payments on goods and services at participating retail locations. Apparently, Apple is making sure that developers can’t take advantage of the iPhone 6’s NFC capabilities.
It isn’t entirely clear just now as to why this will be the case, since NFC can be used for interesting features like sharing data and gaming, the latter of which having been showcased in games like Disney Infinity and Skylanders. Developers of third-party speakers or other companion devices can allow for pairing via NFC as well – but with the news that it’s locked down exclusively for Apple Pay, iPhone 6 users are just going to have to go without.
So what gives? My guess is that Apple wants to keep as much security over Apple Pay as possible. By making NFC accessible to developers, you run the risk of those with less than altruistic motives suddenly being able to monkey around with the primary method of wireless payment communication between the iPhone 6 and the Apple Pay stations.
However, not all may be lost. A post on CNET about the subject offers confirmation from an Apple spokesperson, saying that the NFC lockdown will last “at least a year.” Beyond that, he didn’t comment – but that could go either way.
Even still, this has got to be kind of disappointing for Apple fans hoping that the iPhone 6 would finally close the gap on the list of features that many Android fans have enjoyed for the last few years.