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iPhone 5 NFC - Apple explains why it's missing

Andrew Williams

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Apple iPhone 5 2

One of the most notable things about the iPhone 5 from a technical perspective is that it doesn't feature NFC, the up-and-coming wireless payments standard. It's becoming common in Android and Windows Phone 8 devices, but Apple chose to leave it out of its latest iPhone. Why?

Phil Schiller explained the company's reasoning to AllThingsD, saying that "It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem." Instead, Apple has Pasbook, which Schiller says "does the kinds of things customers need today." Passbook is a precursor to a fully-fledged e-wallet solution, letting you aggregate thinks like digital cinema tickets and travel tickets. However, at present you can only pay for a very small number of items with Passbook, such as Starbucks coffee, using a loyalty card-like system.

At present, we'll have to wait to see how much Passbook love we in the UK get, once iOS launches on September 19.

What's worth noting, though, is quite how temporal Schiller's words are. We wouldn't be surprised if NFC features in the 2013 iPhone, as part of a much more established Passbook system. But for now, it seems, Apple isn't willing to place a bet on a technology that isn't quite there yet.

Last night, Apple launched the iPhone 5. Although it doesn't bring NFC to the table, it does offer a larger screen, a "twice as fast" processor and an improved camera lens. The phone will be available to pre-order this Friday, 14 September, and will start shipping on 21 September. You can bet the first batch will sell out fairly quickly, so get your mouse-clicking finger ready for Friday.

Are you disappointed that the iPhone 5 doesn't feature NFC? Let us know in the comments.

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PGrGr

September 13, 2012, 3:22 pm

"It's not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem."

That's hilarious. It was not clear that launching a tablet was a solution to any current problem 2 years ago. Does he not realise how stupid this statement sounds?

Whilst I agree that it's not clear that NFC is going to be the payment system of the future, and there are other mobile based payment systems competing, the fact is that it's included on many cheaper phones, and is being touted heavily by Google. I think that latter fact may be more pertinent to the omission!

Den

September 13, 2012, 4:40 pm

NFC isn't only used for making payments. When I put my galaxy S3 in my car, an NFC tag switches it to car mode, turns off Wi-Fi and turns on Bluetooth. When TomTom comes out, I will be able to get it to automatically launch that as well.

Keithe6e

September 13, 2012, 5:11 pm

> That's hilarious. It was not clear that launching a tablet was a
> solution to any current problem 2 years ago

Well Apple obviously in this case thought there was, and it appears they were correct.

> Whilst I agree that it's not clear that NFC is going to be the
> payment system of the future

Oh, in that case it's obvious that Apple should install yet another wireless transmitter, just in case. Even though London underground dumped the idea because it's too slow.

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