Apple Submits Mystery 'Wireless Device' With Bluetooth and NFC to FCC

poorcody

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2013
730
539
whatever it is, i'm already disappointed by it and Tim needs to resign.
Plus it makes a buzzing noise when I hold my ear up to the back of it in a soundproof room... not to mention my iPhone battery seems to be draining much faster since it showed up...
 

satchmo

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,128
1,973
Canada
Wasn't there a rumour about a basic fitness tracker/band?
Like a Microsoft Band where maybe you just get basic metrics, no notifications, or gps but allow you to connect to a bluetooth headset.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
I use RS485 for industrial controls. It may be a good way to connect a load of sensors, like temperature together. pretty much all industrial comms use rs485.
Yep. I programmed RS-485 comms for networked electronic casino machines back in the early 1990s.

My money is on some kind of HomeKit Hub.
If it's not meant for POS terminals, then my guess is that it's a special display case system (or some other control gadget) for stores, akin to the special Apple Watch demo systems that also seemed mysterious at first.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Orange Computer

tmiw

macrumors 68020
Jun 26, 2007
2,137
463
San Diego, CA
Like I mentioned before, there aren't EMVco approvals for this thing, which are required for Visa/MC to allow it to be used. The door security thing seems most likely.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aristobrat

Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,353
2,725
Atlanta, USA
Oh, I doubt this is what they're working on, but it's a great idea. Even better if you replace (or extend) "home or office" with "hotel room".
Aren't a bunch of hotels rolling out door-unlocking with iPhone/Watch? Hilton, I think, was one.

Noticed that the SKU is "JR1". My guess:
  • R stands for "Reader"
  • 1 stands for the first version.
  • but what does J stand for?
 

konqerror

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2013
788
1,466
Those are actually easier to use than the modern version:
MX-915-NFC-stand-front_.jpg

The big chunky antenna lets you know immediately that it does accept Apple Pay/NFC and where to tap. The new ones, you guess it's the center of the screen or corner or whatever, and most of them are programmed not to show the contactless logo until it's time to pay.
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,790
1,301
Falls Church, VA
I work in the Physical Access control space (Example: Card Access). D0 and D1 often is coupled with RS485 on our controllers for Data 0 and Data 1 wiegand (serial) connections.

Usually this isn't used in consumer spaces so maybe it is for internal uses. Here is some details on Wiegand interfaces (D1/D0) for card access systems.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiegand_interface

Apple uses access control all over the place including on the Apple Watch drawers in their stores to access the demo watches.
Its possible that this could be an internal access control device... They could be pairing OSDP or Wiegand on those lines.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CJA90

DotCom2

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2009
4,104
2,356
Its obviously an NFC tag Reader for Apple Pay ENABLED POINT OF SALE.

RS485 its a very common serial protocol used on POS devices.

A POS tipically requires some ADD-ON to read NFC payment devices, inclusion of Bluetooth technology could represent an iBeacon advertising the POS NFC so the iPhone starts the Apple Pay system.
I agree. I think that's what it really really is. This would be to promote Apple Pay and distribute to mostly small businesses that haven't or don't want to take the expense to upgrade their whole systems. They may even give them out for free or at a small price. Apple would make money off the sale.
Coming from a small retailer, I sure hope this is true.
 

tmiw

macrumors 68020
Jun 26, 2007
2,137
463
San Diego, CA
Those are actually easier to use than the modern version:
View attachment 658010
The big chunky antenna lets you know immediately that it does accept Apple Pay/NFC and where to tap. The new ones, you guess it's the center of the screen or corner or whatever, and most of them are programmed not to show the contactless logo until it's time to pay.
Apple Pay and the like are the only forms of contactless payment that most Americans have access to, so it's fairly understandable that they're relying on the phone/watch's UI more than in other places. Personally it doesn't bother me since it's the middle of the display you're supposed to tap the vast majority of the time (and there's usually a logo/lights if it's anywhere else).
 

CFreymarc

Suspended
Sep 4, 2009
3,973
1,137
My guess is an ApplePay accessory that you can have stationary to tap NFC cards with the iPhone in hand of the merchant.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
4,771
2,793
The voltage range suggests they're getting power from somewhere they don't control, and RS485 suggests they're interfacing with a system they don't control. If this was for an Apple system end to end they'd have tighter specs on voltage and they'd use a more modern communications interface. They also wouldn't call out the wire colors, they'd just provide a connector.

I'd lean toward thermostat, but aren't they usually closer to 24V?
 
  • Like
Reactions: sudo1996

DPinTX

macrumors member
Aug 12, 2008
34
5
Dallas
Well card reader system for office building, using Apple Watch or iPhone to unlock doors.

RS-485 signals are used in a wide range of computer and automation systems. In a computer system, SCSI-2 and SCSI-3 may use this specification to implement the physical layer for data transmission between a controller and a disk drive. RS-485 is used for low-speed data communications in commercial aircraft cabins vehicle bus. It requires minimal wiring, and can share the wiring among several seats, reducing weight.

RS-485 is used as the physical layer underlying many standard and proprietary automation protocols used to implement Industrial Control Systems, including the most common versions of Modbus and Profibus. DH 485 is a proprietary communications protocol used by Allen-Bradley in their line of industrial control units. Utilizing a series of dedicated interface devices, it allows PCs and industrial controllers to communicate in a local area network utilizing a token passing medium access control.[6] These are used in programmable logic controllers and on factory floors. Since it is differential, it resists electromagnetic interference from motors and welding equipment.

In theatre and performance venues RS-485 networks are used to control lighting and other systems using the DMX512protocol.

RS-485 is also used in building automation as the simple bus wiring and long cable length is ideal for joining remote devices. It may be used to control video surveillance systems or to interconnect security control panels and devices such as access control card readers.

It is also used in model railway: the layout is controlled by a command station using Digital Command Control (DCC). The external interface to the DCC command station is often RS-485 used by hand-held controllers[7] or for controlling the layout in a network/PC environment.[8] Connectors in this case are 8P8C / RJ45.

Although many applications use RS-485 signal levels; the speed, format, and protocol of the data transmission is not specified by RS-485. Interoperability of even similar devices from different manufacturers is not assured by compliance with the signal levels alone.
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601
I agree. I think that's what it really really is. This would be to promote Apple Pay and distribute to mostly small businesses that haven't or don't want to take the expense to upgrade their whole systems. They may even give them out for free or at a small price. Apple would make money off the sale.
Coming from a small retailer, I sure hope this is true.
The most plausible explanation yet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DotCom2

ipedro

Suspended
Nov 30, 2004
4,670
4,958
Toronto, ON
Those are actually easier to use than the modern version:
View attachment 658010
The big chunky antenna lets you know immediately that it does accept Apple Pay/NFC and where to tap. The new ones, you guess it's the center of the screen or corner or whatever, and most of them are programmed not to show the contactless logo until it's time to pay.
This is why the market is wide open for Apple to disrupt like they have in other markets. A clean, beautiful device that encourages tapping your phone with a touch screen for entering a PIN should you use your bank/credit card. Apple gets to keep the transaction fees and spreads awareness about ApplePay.

They certainly have the server capacity to process payments, there's a demand for a cleaner and quicker solution, and Apple is already in the payments business with ApplePay.

From what we can see of the device, it's not meant for consumer installation and is intended for fixed wiring. That specific set of wiring is very common in Point of Sale devices. It uses both NFC and Bluetooth, the former which strongly favours a payments device and the latter which could be used to connect to an iPad with a retail app.

It's safe to speculate with a pretty high degree of certainty that this is a POS device. Whether or not it's for general use in retail or an in house made solution for Apple stores, we won't know until more information comes out.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DotCom2