OPINION: While the steady stream of new NFC patent applications from Apple over the last few months has been interesting, it has been important to not get too excited — there's a big difference between a company filing a patent application and actually building a new technology into its products. This week, however, everything has changed.
A series of new patent applications published over the last few days show far more than some interesting use cases for near field communication technology. They show that Apple's work with NFC is centred around a fully formed business model for the provision of a new revenue-generating business providing brands, retailers and marketers with a way to promote themselves in a highly targeted manner to Apple customers around the world.
Given Apple's preference for building and controlling its own ecosystems, it is unlikely the company will wait to get agreements from banks and operators before announcing a commercial NFC service. Instead, we'll simply find one day — and it may not be too far in the future — that iPhones, and more, now come with NFC. And, as we've seen with the rapid adoption of touchscreens, accelerometers and app stores, wherever Apple goes others are sure to follow.
Sarah Clark, Editor