Near Field Communication Stories March 10, 2016

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Swatch thinks it can’t compete with the Apple Watch, sticking to low-end smartwatches for now

Swatch seems to have acknowledged the difficulty of competing with the Apple Watch, announcing today that it would be focusing its smartwatch efforts on its low-cost plastic models before making a move into its more expensive brands. The WSJ notes that the Swatch Group owns Omega, Longines and Tissot.

Swatch Group AG on Thursday said it would focus its smartwatch technology on its plastic Swatch brand in response to devices launched by Apple Inc. and others before considering installing it in its pricier brands […]

The Swatch Bellamy, a version of its eponymous plastic Swatch watch that uses near-field communication technology, sells for €80 ($88) to €100.

This is hardly a smartwatch at all, comprising a dumb watch with an NFC payment chip embedded beneath the dial. The company plans to make further low-end smartwatch launches in the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland.

“We are not talking about competing with Apple,” said the colorful Mr. Hayek, who was dressed in a plaid shirt and scarf, occasionally donned a pair of Swatch sunglasses and puffed on a big cigar during the news conference. “They are consumer-electronics people and we don’t want to get into that sector.”

Swatch hasn’t exactly set out to make friends with Apple. It’s believed that the company’s trademarking of ‘iSwatch’ prevented Apple using iWatch as the name for the Apple Watch, and the company last year trademarked ‘One More Thing.’

Near Field Communication Stories December 16, 2014

On the same day that Apple Pay reached a sign-up rate of 90% of US bank cards by transaction volume, Samsung is reportedly planning to launch a rival mobile payment service that would work with 100% of cards and payment terminals on day one.

Re/code suggests that the company is in talks with LoopPay, a startup which describes itself as “the most accepted mobile wallet on the planet.” Instead of using an NFC chip for contactless payment, LoopPay transmits a magnetic signal which simulates the swiping of the magnetic strip on a card. That means it works with all cards and all payment terminals, contactless or not …  expand full story

Near Field Communication Stories November 12, 2014

Square chip-and-signature cardreaders available for pre-order ahead of next year’s changes

It may not yet be practical for micro businesses to fork out for the expensive NFC payment terminals needed for Apple Pay, but Square is ensuring that they will at least be all set for the shift to chip-and-signature cards next year.

As of October 2015, any retailer without a chip-and-signature reader will bear the risk of fraudulent transactions, giving them a strong incentive to update their cardreaders. Fortunately, with Square, it’s not an expensive shift: the iPhone reader will cost just $29 – the cheapest on the market – while the Chip Card Accessory for the Square Stand iPad terminal costs $39.

It will be interesting to see whether Square is later able to develop a low-cost NFC reader to support contactless cards and Apple Pay, but in the meantime both chip-and-signature products are available for pre-order now, with delivery early next year.

Near Field Communication Stories August 28, 2014

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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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Near Field Communication Stories August 18, 2014

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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Near Field Communication Stories May 29, 2014

Apple wants to replace yet another daily tool with your iPhone: your wallet.

Executives from the Cupertino-based technology company have begun discussions with directors from retail store chains about a mobile payments service, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks. Previous reports indicated that Apple is exploring new payments services through discussions with executives from existing payments companies. These latest mobile payments-related discussions, which have occurred with retail store brands such as those that sell luxury clothing and premium goods, have taken place over the past couple of months, according to the source. The source declined to be named and requested that the identities of the companies talking to Apple not be published.

The Apple mobile payments service would be integrated into iOS Devices such as the iPhone and would be a comprehensive solution that would allow an iPhone user to leverage their device as a form of payment in retail stores. Based on information from various people briefed on the matter, the service would tie directly to iTunes accounts. Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue noted last night that Apple has 800 million iTunes accounts with credit cards, and that this arsenal opens up the door for many future products and services. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously hinted that the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor could someday be leveraged for mobile payment purposes beyond the existing iTunes and App Stores…

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