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Apple is expected to expand the NFC capabilities of its iPhones beyond mobile payments, allowing users to securely unlock doors equipped with the technology, according to The Information. The company is said to be planning to announce the new functionality "next month," suggesting it will come at WWDC as part of the iOS 12 unveiling.

hid_global_unlock.jpg
The change to the near-field communication, or NFC, chip, which is expected to be announced next month, could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways.

Already, employees at Apple's new campus in Cupertino, Calif., are using their iPhones to gain access to buildings and offices, suggesting that the technology has been deployed there, people familiar with the matter said.
The Information reported nearly four years ago that Apple was looking to expand NFC capabilities to building security and transit ticketing, working with its campus security vendor HID Global on the technology.

Today's report notes that while Bluetooth is already used to manage some smart locks using iPhones, NFC offers a more secure method for connections and authentication, an important consideration for companies and government agencies in particular.

Article Link: iOS 12 to Allow iPhones to Unlock Doors Via NFC
 

Solomani

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Sep 25, 2012
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Already, employees at Apple's new campus in Cupertino, Calif., are using their iPhones to gain access to buildings and offices, suggesting that the technology has been deployed there, people familiar with the matter said.

It's always good for Apple to guinea test new tech like this on its own employees first. Although internal Apple tests is not an adequate sample, since most of them are already privileged tech nerds, they in no way represent the average "Apple consumer", and how they react and use new technologies will not be the same as how the average Apple consumer reacts. Maybe limited testing (regional?) might be next?
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
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Is there any reason Apple took so long to provide a complete NFC API? Were they worried people would do Bad Things(TM) with it?

It just seems odd because other smartphone vendors have had an open API for NFC since they started having NFC, and Apple took four years to even start doing the same thing.
 

Mac 128

macrumors 603
Apr 16, 2015
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Is there any reason Apple took so long to provide a complete NFC API? Were they worried people would do Bad Things(TM) with it?

It just seems odd because other smartphone vendors have had an open API for NFC since they started having NFC, and Apple took four years to even start doing the same thing.

Don't forget how long Apple took to even add NFC to their phones, when their competitors had it years earlier.
 

AppleFan91

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Sep 11, 2012
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It's always good for Apple to guinea test new tech like this on its own employees first. Although internal Apple tests is not an adequate sample, since most of them are already privileged tech nerds, they in no way represent the average "Apple consumer", and how they react and use new technologies will not be the same as how the average Apple consumer reacts. Maybe limited testing (regional?) might be next?

As in like a beta...for developers? And then perhaps after that...a multi-month beta for the public before maybe a public launch say...in the fall? I like it.
 

Solomani

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Sep 25, 2012
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As in like a beta...for developers? And then perhaps after that...a multi-month beta for the public before maybe a public launch say...in the fall? I like it.

Yes, something like that. It needs to be a lengthy beta with thousands of testers. THAT is the only way they will be able to catch dozens upon dozens of potential security glitches and flaws.

This is software feature will may unlock your house. Or unlock your $75,000 luxury car. These features need to be tested extensively! And potential bugs and glitches and flaws need to be hunted down and revealed and addressed as much as possible….. before a release version ever sees the light of day.
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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Is there any reason Apple took so long to provide a complete NFC API? Were they worried people would do Bad Things(TM) with it?

It just seems odd because other smartphone vendors have had an open API for NFC since they started having NFC, and Apple took four years to even start doing the same thing.

Doesn't seem at all odd, because Apple is extra-cautious. They certainly would rather avoid headlines about people doing Bad Things™ with it. "iPhone Let Rapist into Hotel Room" is not a headline they'd want, and with "Apple" and "iPhone" far bigger clickbait terms than "Android," the potential consequences of an incident are much larger. If it takes them a while longer to be satisfied that they "got it right" before releasing to the public... that's SOP for Apple.
 

architect1337

macrumors regular
Sep 11, 2016
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Yes, something like that. It needs to be a lengthy beta with thousands of testers. THAT is the only way they will be able to catch dozens upon dozens of potential security glitches and flaws.

This is software feature will may unlock your house. Or unlock your $75,000 luxury car. These features need to be tested extensively! And potential bugs and glitches and flaws need to be hunted down and revealed and addressed as much as possible….. before a release version ever sees the light of day.

Agree. The maths will be sound but it’s the implementation that will need to be looked at.
 
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tooloud10

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Aug 14, 2012
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This needs to be on the Apple Watch and not so much on a drop potential, glass shatter device as the iPhone.

It'll probably come to the AW at some point, but not everyone has one. If it made any sense to limit functionality on the iPhone because it could be dropped, you could pretty much apply that to everything.

The day that Apple withholds a feature I want because they're afraid I'll drop the phone, I think I'll just move on.
 

Der Keyser

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2016
243
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Is there any reason Apple took so long to provide a complete NFC API? Were they worried people would do Bad Things(TM) with it?

It just seems odd because other smartphone vendors have had an open API for NFC since they started having NFC, and Apple took four years to even start doing the same thing.

Easy now... I’m 100% sure it will not be a full NFC API - that would make people able to create things apple does not want on their phones (other payment systems fx.). So it will likely only be some NFC features, and they will probably require Apple authentication on the other end as well (fx. Door systems upgraded with licensed Apple Software to authenticate and allow the API call to complete on the phone).
 

Kabeyun

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Mar 27, 2004
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This needs to be on the Apple Watch and not so much on a drop potential, glass shatter device as the iPhone.
Agreed, eventually. First they need to figure out why sometimes the AW doesn't ask for my unlock code when I put it on. Bad guy getting into my data is one thing. Bad guy getting into my house is another.
 
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Carlanga

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Nov 5, 2009
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