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.

HEADLINE NEWS

NXP Semiconductors Sues Marvell for Alleged Patent Infringement

Netherlands-based chip maker NXP Semiconductors has filed a patent infringement suit against rival chip maker, U.S.-based Marvell Semiconductor, which claims that Marvell infringed on four of its U.S. patents in chips sold to Microsoft for its Xbox One gaming console.

Spanish Airline Adds NFC Card Tapping to Mobile Booking App

Jan 28 2015

Spanish airline Vueling has added an NFC feature to its mobile application, allowing users to tap a contactless card with an NFC handset to fill in part of their card data, which they could then use to book a flight with the app.

OTI Announces Wave Attachment for Taiwan, but Actual Deployment Small

Israel-based NFC vendor On Track Innovations has announced the deployment of its NFC-enabled Wave smartphone attachment in Taiwan, targeted for the iPhone, though only 10,000 units are being distributed, and Apple has not yet approved an iOS wallet app used with the devices for a planned mobile-payments service by Taiwanese banks, NFC Times has learned.

NFC Forum Working on Specification for Tags Supporting ISO 15693 Standard

NFC Times Exclusive – The NFC Forum is working on a tag Type 5 specification based on the ISO/IEC 15693 standard, NFC Forum executive director Paula Hunter has confirmed to NFC Times. She did not release a timeframe for publishing of the new specification, however.

Poland Seen as Testing Ground for HCE, Though Timetable for Commercial Launches Uncertain

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – With its high penetration of contactless POS terminals and strong use of contactless cards, payment networks, banks and telcos have seen Poland as a t

Broadcom Announces NFC Chip Aimed at Automotive Market as It Targets IoT

U.S.-based chip maker Broadcom announced it is sampling a new NFC chip targeting the automotive market.

Top 10 Misses for NFC in 2014; Project Backers Look to Recover Momentum in 2015

Jan 7 2015

NFC Times Exclusive – While the NFC industry saw a breakthrough in 2014 with the launch of Apple Pay, the year also was marked by a number of disappointments and missed opportunities.

Banking TSM Joint Venture Announces Launch of Service in Taiwan’s Fragmented NFC Market

NFC Times Exclusive Insight: TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s banking joint venture, Taiwan Mobile Payment Co., as expected, announced the launch of its TSM service Tuesday, with at least 32 Taiwanese banks planning to make their Visa- and MasterCard-branded payment cards available to be downloaded and provisioned by the TSM.

Taiwan’s Telco TSM Joint Venture Announces Launch Plans, but Faces Market Challenges

Dec 30 2014

NFC Times Exclusive Insight: TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan’s mobile operator TSM joint venture Thursday announced plans to launch NFC service in the second quarter, following a trial within the next few months–though it remains to be seen when the JV will be ready for a full-scale commercial launch.

RBC: HCE Pilot to Lead to 2015 Commercial Launch; But Bank Says it Will Keep Hybrid Payments Service

NFC Times Exclusive – The Royal Bank of Canada plans a commercial launch of host-card emulation in 2015 following a small employee pilot of HCE payments, but declined to specify a date, head of payments innovation Jeremy Bornstein told NFC times in an interview.

Mozido Acquires NFC and Wallet Vendor CorFire, Plans to Continue TSM

U.S.-based Mozido has acquired majority ownership of SK C&C USA, known as CorFire, giving the Austin-based supplier of cloud-based, white-label mobile payments and commerce products NFC technology.

Case Study: One Year on, Tim Hortons' HCE App Not Yet Available for Android Devices

NFC Times Exclusive – A year after its launch of closed-loop HCE NFC payments for BlackBerry 10 devices, Canadian-based coffee chain Tim Hortons has yet to roll out HCE for Android, continuing to offer only a bar-code-based version of the gift card service instead on non-BlackBerry platforms, although mobile app and HCE vendor Clearbridge Mobile says the BlackBerry launch received a positive response from customers.