Apple Job Openings Add to Speculation it Will Support NFC

Apple has posted two new job openings on its site, adding fuel to rumors that the company is planning to incorporate NFC in its next iPhone and might support payments–though neither of the job postings mentions NFC by name.

One of the postings advertises an opening for a "manager of global payment platforms,” though it’s not clear whether this is a newly created position. And the new staffer would manage existing customer payment options that enable Apple’s customers to purchase products at Apple's online store, on iTunes, and at its retail stores.

But the position, which reports to Apple's controller of global payment platforms, would also "explore new global payments initiatives and expansion." That includes researching global payment rules and regulations and also looking at "payment vehicles for new markets" and preparing a business case for them.

The other job opening is for an iPhone hardware test engineer, and among the nine items listed under "additional preferred experience" is being able to work with RF, or radio frequency, technology. The posting reportedly had earlier stated a preference for experience with RFID, which would have been a reference to contactless technology. But that reference was apparently changed to just RF. And the RF experience does not appear in the long list of actual requirements for the job.

Despite this, the postings will no doubt add to speculation among Apple watchers, as well as many in the NFC and larger payments industry, that Apple is ready to adopt NFC for its next iPhone, due out this summer, and possibly for its follow-up iPad–and could support contactless payments with the devices.

That speculation was stoked last week by an article by Bloomberg news service, which purports that Apple plans to enable NFC payments this year from the iPhone 5 and expected second version of the iPad, using its iTunes payment service. The article cites as its only source a technology consultant, Richard Doherty, director of U.S.-based consulting firm Envisioneering Group.

Doherty also said Apple has created a "prototype" payment terminal that it could sell at low cost or give away to small merchants. With iTunes, Apple has 100 million accounts with credit card or banking account information on file that it could use instead of open-loop bank payment, the article suggests.

The article is based largely on speculation, however, and Doherty in turn was citing as his sources unnamed "engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project." But in follow-up articles in other publications, Doherty was quoted as saying that he’d talked to outside hardware markers working with Apple on accessories "in anticipation" of Apple rolling out NFC, or that he’s talked to Asian equipment suppliers "bidding for inclusion in the next iPhone." This is not the same as citing engineers working for Apple itself. 

While Apple appears likely to incorporate NFC technology in the iPhone 5, especially given past patent requests, any plans to introduce NFC-based payments using iTunes remain open to debate. Some observers also believe Google is gearing up to introduce NFC-based payments.

Others, however, believe that both Apple and Google are planning to offer NFC-based mobile wallets that would be open to various payment applications, including Visa- and MasterCard-branded bank payment accounts. Apple and Google instead would focus on using NFC to enhance the features and improve the user experience for a range of apps in their respective app stores, including location-based advertising, say the observers.


Google Gets Support for Its Underused Smart Tap Technology from POS Terminal Supplier Ingenico

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google has not yet given up on technology it bought from the now defunct Softcard joint venture more than three years ago to try to boost use of its rebranded NFC mobile wallet, Google Pay, formerly Android Pay.

Analysis: Google Launches Google Pay Rebrand, as It Seeks to Enable Payments Across Multiple Channels and Devices

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Google began rolling out its previously-announced set of Google Pay services Tuesday in what is primarily a rebrand of Android Pay and other Google payments features. The initiative supports Google’s long-held goal of making payments seamless across its various products and access points.

Can Luxury Watchmaker TAG Heuer Sell Swiss Precision Along with NFC Payments? Its Latest Smartwatch Again Supports Android Pay

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While payments wearables, in general, are taking off more slowly than expected, a number of manufacturers are incorporating the feature in their high-end watches and that includes Switzerland-based luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer.

Hong Kong Banking Group JETCO–Former Backer of NFC–Launches QR Code Payments Service

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Hong Kong ATM and interbank group JETCO is the latest provider to launch a QR code-based payments service for in-store transactions in Asia, with payments coming out of the consumers’ bank accounts. But the group has few if any merchants live yet.

Vendor Hopes to ‘Flip’ Bitcoin Holders into Users of Cryptocurrency for Retail Purchases

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are mainly seen as assets for speculative investments these days rather than currencies for making payments, U.S.-based provisioning and mobile wallet platform company Fit Pay Thursday released a second announcement about its planned contactless device that would enable holders of Bitcoin to make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores.

NXP Continues to Promote ‘Loader Service’ Targeting Wearables Market, Seeking to Sell More Embedded Chips

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – In addition to the NFC secure elements that NXP Semiconductors is providing to wearables maker Garmin for its vívoactive 3 and forthcoming Forerunner 645 smartwatches supporting Garmin Pay, NXP is also supplying its “Loader Service,” a technology that the chip maker has been pushing for more than three years.

Popular Messaging App Most-Used Mobile Payments Service in Taiwan: Survey

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – There’s more evidence that social media and messaging apps are proving to be valuable platforms for promoting mobile payments, at least in Asia.

Can Cryptocurrency Work at the Point of Sale? Some Vendors Want to Try

NFC TIMES Exclusive – As cryptocurrencies gain momentum online, some payments vendors and even a handful of national banks are making the first moves toward bringing those currencies into the world of brick-and-mortar retail with mobile payments, but it will likely be some time before those efforts gain a significant foothold in the market.

More U.S. Transit Authorities Plan to Accept Open-Loop Payments, but Some Cities are Opting Out

NFC TIMES Exclusive – Interest continues among a number of transit authorities globally to move toward acceptance of contactless bank cards and NFC phones for fares, but rollouts have been happening in fits and starts in such countries as the U.S., where some cities there are deciding against accepting open-loop payments.

Could China Lead Way in Using QR Codes for Mobile Transit Ticketing Instead of NFC? Shanghai Metro Could Provide Answer

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While the rollout hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as planned, the Shanghai Metro’s launch of a large trial of QR code-based payments could mark a turning point for use of the technology for transit fare collection.

Amazon Launches No-Register Concept Store but Stays Mum on Expansion Plans

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – Amazon opened its no-register-no-checkout Amazon Go store to the public today near its headquarters in Seattle–but those expecting a general rollout of the technology or expansion to the supermarket chain, Whole Foods Market, that the e-commerce giant bought last year will have to wait much longer.

As Luster Fades on Mobile Wallets, Start-Ups Seek to Enable Digital Payments with Physical Cards

Jan 20 2018

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While UK consumers are taking to contactless payments, they appear to have no intention of replacing their physical cards with mobile wallets, says UK-based digital payments start-up Curve.