We’ve all heard various rumors about the upcoming iPhone 6. But have you heard about “iWallet”?
It’s basically Apple’s version of Google Wallet, an NFC (Near Field Communication)-powered electronic payment system. The idea isn’t new. The NFC technology allows an NFC-enabled device to conveniently transfer data to another NFC-enabled device by simply “tapping” it. This “barrierless” communication was perfect for electronic payment scenarios, so Google took the helm and tried to push the technology into the U.S. general consumer market in September, 2011. But it didn’t quite work. One of the main reasons for this was that the majority of the U.S. smartphones didn’t have NFC chips. Although Google introduced a new NFC-free version of Google Wallet in 2013 that apparently lacked the tapping feature, the adoption rate still didn’t meet the expectation.
So, what makes iWallet a “new story”? The rumor is that the new iPhone 6 will have an NFC chip, thus will feature the iWallet app. And just because of the sheer popularity, brand power and market leadership of iPhones, especially in the U.S. market, NFC might finally see the light among general consumers. This means the whole lifestyle of tapping things to activate/communicate things will most likely be a norm. And this is where the IoT (Internet of Things) world can benefit. Just imagine, controlling a machine hundreds of miles away over the Internet by simply tapping on a special kiosk. That’s the beauty of IoT and NFC.
The convenience of NFC can bring people that much “closer” to IoT, by simplifying the interactive process in web-connected robotics. The NFC industry has been focusing mostly on e-commerce, but soon, with the introduction of iWallet and the subsequent potential popularity of NFC, the NFC industry should broaden its vision and aggressively dive into the multi-trillion dollar market of IoT. What if a user can tap different parts of a product poster, and it activates a robot at a special remote location to do different demos of the product? And the user can even see it working via live streaming. It would be a powerful product experience.
When IoT and NFC come together, possibilities are limitless.