Apple iOS developers are “heavy into NFC” in the future iPhones.
Ed McLaughlin, of MasterCard, had a discussion with Fast Company that went as follows:
…when asked to give an estimate for when smartphone payments would become commonplace (in other words, would 2012 be the year of NFC or contactless tech?), McLaughlin demurred–and may have dropped a hint about Apple’s future in the industry.
“The timeline is always as rapid as it makes sense for consumers,” he says. “That’s a combination of having a critical mass of the merchants, which is what you’re seeing right now, and getting devices into the hands of consumers. I don’t know of a handset manufacturer that isn’t in process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready.”
So that would include Apple then?
“Um, there are…like I say, [I don't know of] any handset maker out there,” McLaughlin says. “Now, when we have discussions with our partners, and they ask us not to disclose them, we don’t.”
Apple, of course, has the magical ability to transform whole industries. No one paid for music digitally before Apple unveiled iTunes; virtually no one listened to MP3 players, or carried smartphones, or played with tablets before Apple entered the markets. (And we have good reason to believe they are angling into wireless payment territory.) I asked whether the contactless payments industry needs Apple to hit critical mass.
“Well, anytime someone with a major base moves forward, it advances what you’re doing. So of course,” McLaughlin says.