Apple appears to be expanding the NFC functionality of its devices with the forthcoming iOS upgrade, reports AppleInsider.
Hidden among some more splashy revelations from this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, such as Apple’s forthcoming Amazon Echo rival, were new tools for developers allowing them to take advantage of the NFC technology that supports Apple Pay’s contactless payments. While the technology is currently pretty much reserved for that particular use case, the new iOS 11 tools will let developers make apps that can read NFC Data Exchange Format tags.
What would that mean in practice? Apple’s documentation advises developers that their apps could “read tags to give users more information about their physical environment and the real-world objects in it,” such as by providing “information about products they find in a store or exhibits they visit in a museum.”
It’s a deceptively significant move, given that access to this NFC technology was the ostensible heart of Apple’s feud with Australia’s big banks (though that was really about the banks’ resistance to Apple Pay’s incursion into their market). But with the mPayment service continuing to grow and solidify its lead in the nascent mPayments market – 30 additional banks and credit unions have been added to its impressive roster of supporters in the US in the last month, for example – Apple’s management probably feels it’s now in a pretty comfortable position to open up its NFC tech to third parties.