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Apple Patent Application Suggests New iPhone Could Feature NFC

Thu, 08/15/2013 - 3:24pm
Ben Munson

iPhones and Near Field Communication (NFC) have gone together like oil and water but a new patent application from Apple suggests the technology could find its way into upcoming iOS devices.

As Apple Insider points out, Apple filed a patent application regarding gifting content purchased from iTunes. Bestowing an iTunes-purchased gift involves transmitting digital rights management and authorization, and it’s largely done via email. But in the application, Apple points out that NFC could be used for transmitting gifts or owned media between two iOS devices.

No iPhone has featured NFC, a fact that Samsung commercial famously knocked by having to Galaxy devices bump together and share a playlist in front of amazed Apple fans. NFC is cited as a big driver for mobile payment. Isis, the mobile payment co-venture of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, leverages NFC for its point-of-sale smart device transactions. The service is currently only available for Android devices but promises to come to iPhones by year’s end, another hint that NFC could be coming to the next iPhone.

But some have suggested that Apple will forego NFC all together and instead opt for a low-power Bluetooth technology, dubbed Bluetooth Smart.

Of course, the patent application could just be including NFC options for iPhone owners who happen to have an NFC-enabled case for their device.

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