Apple joins secure chip standards and NFC group GlobalPlatform ahead of Apple Pay release

Apple Pay

Ahead of Apple’s entry into the mobile payment space next month with the release of Apple Pay for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users, Apple has joined the GlobalPlatform, the non-profit association focused on standards for secure chip technology across various industries, as a full member.

Existing members of GlobalPlatform include various Apple partners and competitors alike with carriers AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon being members as well as handset makers Samsung and BlackBerry. More importantly, Apple Pay partners American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are also members; Discover, which is not yet an Apple Pay partner but has said it is discussions over participation with Apple, is also a member. Read more

Apple Pay may mean the end of physical bank cards within 2-3 years, argues Moven CEO

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While we’d all expected plastic bank cards to be replaced by apps eventually, the CEO of mobile banking startup Moven is suggesting that Apple’s backing could mean the end of physical bank cards within 2-3 years.

The additional sweetners here are three fold. Firstly, tokenization will avoid much of the type of breaches we’ve seen at Target and Home Depot because the token is only a one-time use thing. Secondly, the move to tokens and the combination of biometrics, etc allow for the emergence of a ‘cardholder present’ approach to interchange rates that will potentially give mobile payments a competitive merchant rate. Lastly, the US might effectively jump straight from magstripe to mobile, especially if issuers can figure out how to reduce the cost of card replacement by moving straight to mobile SE and tokens …

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Apple and Disney Stores upgrading iBeacons and NFC scanners ahead of iPhone 6 launch

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Apple and longtime partner Disney this week are bolstering their stores with upgraded versions of iBeacon sensors and NFC readers, according to sources. Apple Stores have had iBeacons stationed throughout showroom floors for several months as a way to pinpoint exactly where a customer is within the store. This allows Apple to better serve customers by providing relevant sales information to their iPhones and iPads while in the store. The upgrades happening this week within Apple Stores place several new Gimbal Series 20 Proximity Beacons across stores to make location tracking within the store even more accurate.

In addition to providing relevant information for the Apple Store app, iBeacons can be useful for NFC mobile payment technologies as a form of authentication. If Apple knows where a customer is in the store to a precise degree, it can ensure that is it wirelessly connecting to the correct iPhone for mobile payments. As has been widely reported, the new iPhone 6 and upcoming Apple wearable device will include new wireless sensors (including a near field communication chipset) to conduct mobile payments with credit cards stored in an upgraded Passbook application.

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NYT: iWatch to feature flexible display panel, wireless charging, iPhone 6 to have ‘one handed mode’

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The New York Times is weighing in on Apple’s imminent iPhone event, corroborating past information as well as adding some new tidbits about Apple’s newest iPhones (the ‘iPhone 6′) and its brand new wearable (dubbed ‘iWatch’).

Most interestingly, it says that the iWatch will feature a flexible display. Assumedly, this will allow the product to morph to fit comfortably on user’s arms. KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple’s use of a flexible panel in July. The screen is protected by sapphire glass. As 9to5Mac has reported countless times, the device will feature health and fitness tracking capabilities, for things like footsteps and heart rate. The report claims Apple has “put an enormous amount of time and money” to make the sensors track “much more accurately than existing fitness devices”.

In terms of software, the device will rely on HealthKit for health tracking and Handoff, one of Apple’s iOS 8 continuity features, to seamlessly share content between devices. Handoff could be used for sharing SMS texts between the phone and the watch, for instance. 9to5Mac discussed how Handoff might interact with Apple’s wearable a couple of months ago.

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WSJ: iWatch, iPhone 6 to link via NFC, watch coming in two sizes with curved OLED screens

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A new report from The Wall Street Journal today is corroborating many previous rumors about Apple’s upcoming wearable, including that the device will include some form of NFC technology and will be shipping in multiple sizes. Furthermore, the report notes that Apple will also be bringing NFC to its next iPhone as seen in previous leaks, making it easier for the two devices to pair and signifying that the watch will be more than just a fitness gadget:

The gadget’s use of near-field communication, or NFC, reflects Apple’s broader ambitions for the so-called iWatch beyond health and fitness tracking, the most commonly cited use. Apple also is expected to add the wireless technology to the next versions of its iPhone, people familiar with the device said, potentially simplifying the process of connecting, or pairing, the two devices.

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Apple reportedly discussing mobile payment partnership with Nordstrom

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Apple is reportedly in talks with department store Nordstrom to join as a partner for the company’s mobile payment system, as noted by Bank Innovation. As has been previously reportedly, Apple is also in talks with several other retailers about the possibility of accepting iPhone-based payments, and has deals in place with MasterCard and American Express as well as Chinese payment processor UnionPay to support the feature.

According to the Bank Innovations report, people familiar with Nordstrom’s systems have confirmed that the company’s current point-of-sale hardware is purchased from Apple and recently received a software update to work “with the latest iPhones.” These devices are said to be the same updated EasyPay systems implemented recently in Apple Stores across the country.

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Claimed production model of iPhone 6 casing shows more subtle Space Gray antenna breaks

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French site NWE claims to have found photos of a finished production model of the casing of the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6, shown in gray.

While not revealing anything new about the overall design of the phone, it does appear to give a much clearer view of how the antenna breaks are handled, with a significantly more subtle appearance than had been suggested by some earlier leaked parts, mockups and renders – as seen in the photo below …  Read more

Apple reportedly working with Dutch company NXP to include NFC in iPhone 6, possibly iWatch

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Apple is reportedly planning to include NFC in the iPhone 6 for secure wireless payments using chips sourced from a Dutch company called XNP, the Financial Times reported today. It’s not the first time this rumor has cropped up before an iPhone launch, but other recent reports seem to indicate that this year it might just be happening.

In fact, earlier this year Apple was said to have reached a deal with China UnionPay, the nation’s only domestic mobile payment processor, to include NFC support at countless retailers in the next iPhone. What’s perhaps even more interesting is that the technology may not be limited solely to the handset itself…

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WIRED now also saying iPhone 6 will have NFC and mobile payments

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WIRED is the latest publication to report that the soon-to-be-announced iPhone 6 will be accompanied by a new mobile payment system using NFC technology.

The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC.

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Leaked iPhone 6 schematic doesn’t show 1GB of RAM, but it may indicate NFC on the way

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A set of schematics by GeekBar on Weibo have been making the rounds today, claiming to show both NFC support for the iPhone 6 as well as ‘confirmation’ that the device will feature just 1 GB of RAM, like the iPhone 5s.

Although the site focuses on the 1 GB description at the top of the image, it turns out that the schematic is actually a design for a NAND flash component (a storage chip, the same memory used in iPhones and other mobile devices for storing user data like music and photos) rather than RAM for the SoC.

Todd DeRego, a SoC memory engineer, says that the schematic does not have enough signals for it to be a DRAM interface. He also points out that the AP_TO_NAND text refers to an application processor to NAND link, indicating this memory is actually used as a way of storing the booting firmware and not the main memory of the iPhone. Although the RAM claim is almost certainly untrue, the NFC claim cannot be so easily dismissed.

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Rumor: NFC, wireless charging, improved LTE slated for iPhone 6

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New high-resolution photos surfaced over the weekend showing what is expected to be the much thinner iPhone 6 following a report from Venture Beat that corroborates several other claims that the next generation iPhone will feature a larger display than previous models. Included in that report are also claims that Apple will opt for implementing NFC (near field communication), wireless charging, and improved LTE in the next iPhone refresh expected later this year…

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