Report: iPhone to get NFC unlocking in June

Playing catch-up to Android. Again.

From Apple to Expand Secure Wireless Chip Beyond Payments, an exclusive posted Friday on The Information ($):

Apple is making a significant change to a wireless chip in the iPhone that will allow users to more securely unlock doors enabled with the same technology, a person familiar with the matter said.

The change to the near-field communication, or NFC, chip, which is expected to be announced next month, could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways.

Already, employees at Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, Calif., are using their iPhones to gain access to buildings and offices, suggesting that the technology has been deployed there, people familiar with the matter said…

Many Android phone makers, including Samsung and Google, already allow owners to access secure systems like HID using NFC. Apple sometimes lags behind Android in introducing features to its operating system.

My take: More and more lately, it seems.


  1. David Drinkwater said:

    I dunno. I think that in matters relating to security over convenience, caoution is wise.

    It’s “inconvenient” to lock and unlock my house door in the morning and evening with my work bags in hand: but I’d rather not leave the front door open.

    Thieves used to use mechanical lock picks to pick mechanical locks: I don’t want to give them an electronic lock pick for an electronic lock, now, do I?

    This applies equally to Siri patiently not calling my boss or a colleague when i invoke them in rants at home (the post before this one).

    May 25, 2018
    • David Emery said:

      There have been many stories lately about thieves using keyless entry hacking to steal cars. I’m not sure I want this on my next car.

      May 27, 2018
  2. David Sauceda said:


    Dated 7/12/17

    “The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2016.

    While Honda Accords and Civics dominate this annual list, they are older, pre-“smart key” production models. Since the introduction of smart keys and other anti-theft technology, Honda thefts have fallen precipitously.”

    I feel the timing—given public acceptance to advancements in technology—is right for Apple to incorporate this type of accessibility in their chip/device(s). Bravo, if true.

    May 25, 2018
  3. Fred Stein said:

    Apple being late? In some ways, OMG Yes. Eg. Siri on my phone hasn’t budged since day one or so it seems.

    BUT… Apple was late with 3G and NFC payments and it did not matter one bit. Because the wasn’t much 3G networks, nor NFC terminals to work with. Google beat Apple with payments and then had to redo the whole thing following Apple’s model.

    For investors, Apple’s cadence is fine. There’s always new features and improvements driving the next upgrade. They’re not breakthroughs, but they keep the revenue flowing. More importantly, when Apple delivers new capability, the App developer ecosystem knows they can design to it and get a great market in 3 months.

    There is a lot more potentially. Improvements in memory and battery technology can substantially improve battery life and/or weight. Apple’s leadership in SmartWatches is just the thin edge of wedge into wearables and IoT. Despite Apple’s lack of apparent progress in Deep Learning, Speech recognition and other AI technologies, they will deliver.

    May 25, 2018
  4. John Kirk said:

    Apple often “lags” behind because they wait for the technology to get good enough to actually work. Take, for example, payments. Apple was supposed to be years “behind” in payments, but once they introduced payments, they swept the competition away. The Apple Watch is another good example of Apple being behind — until they suddenly weren’t. This is true in many other areas as well.

    I don’t want to be an Apple Fanboy. They sometimes do lag behind. But far more often, they understand that it’s not who’s “first”, but who’s “first to get it right” that matters.

    May 26, 2018
  5. Gianfranco Pedron said:

    Apple waits and gets it right, mostly, because it has a lot more to lose if it messes up than any of the “also rans” .

    You don’t get to keep 87% of industry profits by throwing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks. You have to make sure no harm comes to the wall in the process. Imagine the consequences had iPhones started fires caused by defective batteries instead of Samsung. Samsung lost very little, if anything, over the debacle because it had very little to lose to begin with.

    Apple is obviously held to a different standard. That’s why it can command such profitability. Apple is expected to deliver “instrument quality” products every -single -time whereas most everyone else merely need to show up with shiny implements to satisfy the wants of the masses. Although both will accomplish the task at hand equally well, there are reasons, liability and reputation being two of them, why a surgeon might choose to use an expensive, fixed blade scalpel over an X-ACTO with a replaceable blade to perform an operation.

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you must, or even should.

    May 26, 2018
    • Fred Stein said:

      Excellent points.

      Apple has another ace. Few iPhone users will switch to Android just to get one feature that Apple lacks. Hence Apple has little to lose by being a bit late.

      Screens: iPhone sales sagged before, and soared after, they introduced larger screens. With OLED we may see a slow roll since OLED cost right now restricts Apple to the high end.

      May 27, 2018

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