The Internet is abuzz with rumors circulating in advance of the expected Wednesday (Sept. 12) launch of the iPhone 5. Every analyst, blogger, crossing guard and village idiot is bursting with theories on iPhone 5 features, functionality and components. Some of these theories will turn out to be accurate. Most won't.
Leading the speculation are the possibilities that the new phone will have LTE capability, new style ear buds, a next-generation processor and even a complete body redesign (could it be that Apple would actually abandon its patent on the rectangle?).
Some of these theories were created by technologists who examined leaked photos of a device purported to be the iPhone 5. Others were concocted by the hordes of Apple fanboys who apparently have nothing better to do. Still more appear to be the product of the imaginations of office water cooler heralds who know everything and are eager to show it.
The market value for iPhone theories has therefore plunged to an all-time low.
One interesting theory—actually two interesting theories—concerns inclusion of near-field communications (NFC) capability in the iPhone 5. Some observers are certain that the new iPhone will support NFC capability, while others are certain it will not. Much discussion has ensued on the merits (or lack thereof) of this decision.
Spoiler alert: I have no clue whether or not iPhone 5 will support NFC. On one hand, a good argument can be made that—especially in the U.S.—NFC capability for cashless payment and other features is in its infancy, so why add the cost to the handset's bill of materials? On the other hand, an equally compelling argument can be made that NFC is going to explode here and that the latest iPhone ought to be ahead of the curve.
If forced to bet, my money would be on no NFC in iPhone 5. Because the infrastructure is not there to support it, it does seem like an unnecessary expense for a technology that isn't ready for prime time. But being ahead of the curve is exactly what Apple has consistently done so well, and that has translated into a legion of followers. One of Apple's many attributes has been the ability to tell us what we need before we know we need it.
Failing to include NFC support will leave the door open for competitors like Google and Samsung to lay claim to offering a more forward-thinking handset. My gut feeling is that the Apple of Steve Jobs would have added NFC to the iPhone 5. Will the post-Jobs Apple?
Guess we'll have to wait until later this week to find out. If you absolutely can't wait, try doing Google search. You're bound to find plenty of postings that both support and contradict your own theories.
"Every analyst, blogger, crossing guard and village idiot is bursting with theories..." "The market value for iPhone theories has therefore plunged to an all-time low..."
But you still had to give us yours.
A link reported in LinkedIn's DRAM & Flash Product Professionals suggests that the iPhone5 may use PCM (see http://seekingalpha.com/article/858041-the-iphone-5-technology-rabbit-hole) .
Cue "Volatile Memory" response...
We are a long way from my phone replacing everything in my wallet. As long as I have the wallet (which I expect to be decades), NFC is more useful there than in my phone.
A phone is a tool, but one that costs $600 and is fragile and slippery. A wallet has none of these defects.
IHS iSuppli had some interesting comments on the conflicting reports about NFC in iPhone 5 in a news release issued Sept. 11. One factoid that the market research firm pointed out is that 106 million NFC-enabled Android phones have already shipped. IHS said iOS 6 would include support for Apple's new Passbook app, which will allow users to employ their iPhone 5 to redeem coupons, movie tickets, boarding passes and loyalty cards, and to conduct other financial transactions. Apple may choose to partner Passbook with new hardware support in the iPhone 5, such as NFC, IHS said.
"If the iPhone 5 does include NFC, Apple will help the global market for NFC-enabled cellphones expand shipments by 118 percent to reach 233 million units in 2012," said Jagdish Rebello, director for consumer and communications at IHS. This compares to 94 percent growth in 2011, according to IHS.
I visit Japan a fair bit too and I always feel a bit miffed that, as a visitor, I can't use the contactless payment options which are, quite literally, _everywhere_. Shops, public transport, vending machines and more. It is astonishingly convenient for those who can access it and, in Japan, pretty much everybody does.
I see your point about wanting it in your wallet and not your phone. I am agnostic about this. On balance, I'd rather have it on my phone as it's my phone that has the wireless connectivity capability to re-load itself and manage the payment systems.
This technology _will_ take off. It really is only a matter of time. When it does arrive, uptake will be astonishingly fast and near universal.
The iPhone, being the single-model product that it is, has the capability to be the catalyst for contactless payment in a huge number of markets. I, for one, hope they take the plunge. I can envisage a huge segment of the retail sector which desperately wants to attract the demographic which carry iPhones. If iPhone provide the capability, they will provide the infrastructure.
I live in Japan, where NFC is already common for things such as train passes. It is great - but with a big caveat: I do not want it on my phone, but in my wallet, in card form.
Why? Because my iphone is delicate, and taking it out of my pocket is by far the most likely time for me to drop it. My wallet, in contrast, is an invincible hunk of leather. The way I use NFC in practice is to pull out my wallet and plop in on the scanner for a fraction of a second. There is no fuss and it just works. If the NFC were in my phone, I would have to be more careful pulling the NFC out of my pocket, and then be more careful again as I either gently touched it to or brought it into close alignment with this scanner. This would actually be a lot harder and more likely to result in a dropped phone.
I want NFC in a credit card, not my phone.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.