Got an Android phone with NFC and ticked off you can’t use it anywhere for mobile payments? Blame Apple. According to one industry watcher, the Cupertino-based tech company is responsible for setting back the emerging NFC market by two years in the United States.
The claim comes from an analyst at Juniper Research, who says that because Apple didn’t put NFC in the iPhone 5, retailers have a reduced brand confidence in the emerging technology, which allows devices to make secure transactions of data in close proximity with one another without traditionally pairing, a la Bluetooth.
Apple is pretty much alone right now for sitting out NFC. Handset makers like HTC, Nokia, Samsung and RIM all boast NFC-capable handsets, and of course, Google Wallet on Android can take advantage of NFC hardware if it’s available. If NFC were to see broad adoption, you could do everything from pay for a meal to jump on a bus or an airplane by just waving your device in front of a kiosk, but that’s not what Apple’s vision of the future is.
So what is? It’s Passbook, a new app in iOS 6, which allows customers to store tickets and loyalty cards on their iOS devices without asking retailers to invest in point-of-sale devices. It’s a platform Apple totally controls, and if Apple does get in on NFC in the future — say, in a future iPhone, or by expanding it to include mobile payments — it’s a platform Apple could take a significant cut out of every dollar that passes through the app.
Of course, that’s far off: right now, the earliest anyone is expecting the iPhone to get NFC is when the iPhone 6 debuts in 2014, as the current iPhone 5 design isn’t suitable for NFC. In the meantime, Juniper is downgrading their rosy outlook for NFC in America.