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Iphone The Almighty Buck Apple

Apple Hints At Near-Field Payments System In Next-Gen iPhone, iPad 164

Posted by timothy
from the please-swipe-this-spot-on-your-screen dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The smartphone seems to be well on its way to becoming the next wallet; and Apple could be pushing that movement along. Reports from several outlets suggest the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant has plans to put a near-field communications chip in the next versions of the iPhone and iPad for contactless payments technology. The latest report, from blog Apple Insider, says Apple has put up two job postings for two global payment platforms managers."
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Apple Hints At Near-Field Payments System In Next-Gen iPhone, iPad

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  • TFSite (Score:5, Informative)

    by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:02PM (#35043124)

    The site is incredibly obnoxious. Ads pop up over the content from time to time. Avoid if possible. Hope someone can find an article on this on another site.

    • More on topic...can this chip be disabled, or even better, removed or not added as an option?

      I do NOT want anything like this capability on my phone that I carry everywhere....

      I'm trying to go more cash as it is...keep CC spending down...and really, one good hack on this thing, or a stolen phone...how much money could you potentially lose if this thing acts like a debit card and takes it straight out of your checking??? I don't have a debit card for reasons like that....that your funds are gone, and don't

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why not wait and see how it's implemented before judging it?

      • .can this chip be disabled, or even better, removed or not added as an option?

        Yes don't buy an iphone etc...

        I'm trying to go more cash as it is...keep CC spending down..

        and you wonder why they are doing this?

        • by hedwards (940851)
          And as long as the other phone manufacturers don't you're fine. But if it ends up being like other advancements such as those stupid soft keyboards on smart phones it gets harder and harder to find something decent that doesn't have one.
          • by icebike (68054) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @03:37PM (#35044076)

            Sorry, its too late tow worry about it being only an Apple thing.

            The Nexus S phone [google.com] already has NFC already. Apple is definitely behind on NFC. Google already has a processing consortium set up with Barclay's and credit card clearing houses to handle the payments.

            You can always turn it off and carry your less secure credit cards, or vastly less secure cash.

            • by hedwards (940851)
              Less secure? Neither cash nor credit cards can be scanned without removing them from my pocket. And neither of them can be hacked into without my knowledge. Sure I still have to look out for skimmers and be mindful who I allow to handle them, but all in all they're a lot more secure than NFC is. Remember NFC is just an extension to RFID which is known to be riddled with security problems.
              • by node 3 (115640) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @05:38PM (#35044692)

                Less secure? Neither cash nor credit cards can be scanned without removing them from my pocket.

                Both can be removed from your pocket. Once removed, cash is 100% insecure, and credit cards can be easily used until fraud/theft is discovered and the card is disabled.

                And neither of them can be hacked into without my knowledge.

                Cash has no need to be hacked (though it actually can, and sometimes is). And every time you hand over your credit card, you open it up to exploit.

                Sure I still have to look out for skimmers and be mindful who I allow to handle them, but all in all they're a lot more secure than NFC is. Remember NFC is just an extension to RFID which is known to be riddled with security problems.

                Such as? It uses public key encryption. You can't just "clone" someone's NFC phone, and start making purchases. As a phone owner, you can enable further security mechanisms, which make it far more secure than either cash or traditional credit cards.

                • by hedwards (940851)
                  You're confusing insured with secure. Cash is secure so long as it is in your pocket. But anything RFID isn't secure in your pocket unless you go to specific measures to secure it.

                  As for that last point, the British passports were cracked within the initial 12 hours of being released, that's hardly what I would call secure. What was brilliant about it was that they didn't even have to open the envelopes. Sure you can enable the security mechanisms, but if the phone gets cracked you're pretty much screwed
                  • by node 3 (115640)

                    You're confusing insured with secure.

                    No, I'm not referring to any insurance offered by the financial institutions with regards to fraud.

                    Cash is secure so long as it is in your pocket.

                    That's a tautology. "Cash is secure so long as it's some place that is secure." Also, it assumes your pocket is secure, and additionally assumes you can't turn off NFC (thus making it 100% secure, and allowing for a similar tautology, "NFC is secure so long as you turn it off", although my point is that it's sufficiently secure without resorting to such measures).

                    But anything RFID isn't secure in your pocket unless you go to specific measures to secure it.

                    RFID is secured by encryption. Someone can pote

              • by icebike (68054)

                And with many credit cards you get rfid whether you want it or not. And it can be scanned without you taking it out of your pocket from at least ten feet away.

                Unlike rfid, NFC is an active component which can be turned off when not in use.

                Both rfid and nfc can be canceled should they fall into the wrong hands. Try that when you get mugged for your cash.

                • by hedwards (940851)
                  You're confusing insured with secured, those are quite different concepts. Cash is secure as long as it's in your wallet. RFID is not secure but it is frequently insured. That's an important distinction to make, so long as the party insuring it agrees to give it back to you you're safe. However if they choose not to or don't believe you you're screwed. Likewise if it takes them several weeks to conclude that you are indeed entitled to the money back.

                  With cash you know when somebody is taking it and can t
          • But if it ends up being like other advancements such as those stupid soft keyboards on smart phones it gets harder and harder to find something decent that doesn't have one.

            And that was precisely the reason my daughter chose the HTC Desire Z instead of the HTC Desire HD as her birthday present a couple of months ago. They cost much the same, but the Z has a flip-out hardware keyboard, while the HD has a slightly larger screen. The keyboard was an absolute requirement for her, easily outweighing the HD's larger screeen (same number of pixels) and camera with a higher pixel count.

      • by romanval (556418)
        Sure, the chip can be there, but if you don't have a NFP account then it doesn't matter.

        From what I heard it's for small transactions; like convenience stores, lunch outings, vending machines, etc. A limit of $50 a day or such. You can't buy a car with it.

        The NFP chip needs to be less then 4 inches from the scanning device to work; if it uses a 2-way key encryption (layered with session encryption), so it would be difficult for a 3rd party device to snoop anything useful.

        It may prompt your *phone* t
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Sure, the chip can be there, but if you don't have a NFP account then it doesn't matter.

          From what I heard it's for small transactions; like convenience stores, lunch outings, vending machines, etc. A limit of $50 a day or such. You can't buy a car with it.

          The NFP chip needs to be less then 4 inches from the scanning device to work; if it uses a 2-way key encryption (layered with session encryption), so it would be difficult for a 3rd party device to snoop anything useful."

          Ok, thanks..didn't realize t

          • They require a card, but the card that can be an iTunes gift card, which you can get for cash at a number of locations.

            The recent Amazon password debacle leads one to conclude it would be a good policy to use the gift cards even if you plan on buying a lot of music and apps from them.

            • by mean pun (717227)

              They require a card, but the card that can be an iTunes gift card, which you can get for cash at a number of locations.

              Eh? How can you say something like this? Apple hasn't even announced anything, all we know is that Apple wants to hire engineers with experience in NFC. They may not even want to use it for payment, but for something else entirely. And even if this is about payment, why would it have to be coupled with Apple's payment account?

              Or perhaps Apple is only hiring these people to catch up with other phones in the Japanese market. NFC phones are so popular in Japan that vendors of current iPhones sometimes put a s

      • I'm trying to go more cash as it is...keep CC spending down...and really, one good hack on this thing, or a stolen phone...how much money could you potentially lose if this thing acts like a debit card and takes it straight out of your checking???

        Typically these schemes require the user to actively transfer money to a contact-less payment card, either manually or by direct debit, so they are a true equivalent to cash and do not threaten your main bank balance. See for example how the Oyster travel card scheme works in London. So it would just be like withdrawing 20 credits from a bank machine with your debit card, then using it to buy something. If they allowed access to all the funds in your account (or even a set amount per day), that would be ins

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Or maybe you should just choose to use a nice local bank instead of one of the mega banks? I use my debit online with no worries because I use a nice local bank. When I had an E-tailer double dip on my card I simply walked in and told the nearest teller "Hi, I had a website charge me twice?" and got "Ohhhh, don't you hate that? I had that happen with my sister three weeks ago! Here let me just input your data...there! Your money will be back in about an hour when the system updates! Is there anything else I

    • Re:TFSite (Score:4, Funny)

      by Squeeonline (1323439) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:44PM (#35043410) Homepage
      There are ads on the internet? * temporarily turns off adblock* MY EYES!!!
    • by GooberToo (74388)

      Not only that, but they are blatantly copying Google and Android. This is absolutely not a case of Apple paving a path but rather one of Apple falling in behind. But regardless, who gives a crap. I sure don't want my wallet to be so easily lost or worse, susceptible to viruses, trojans, and the usual application exploit crap.

      Personally I think its a really dumb idea. Seemingly, the only real benefit is to allow Google, and now Apple, to know exactly where you shop and which products you purchase. Is carryin

  • different article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:07PM (#35043152)
    Several people commented on the ads and tracking cookies and whatnot on that site. Here's an alternate article [appleinsider.com] on the same topic.
  • I'll bite (Score:4, Interesting)

    by laffer1 (701823) <[luke] [at] [foolishgames.com]> on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:11PM (#35043182) Homepage Journal

    Why do I want this? I'm more than willing to get a piece of plastic out of my wallet or on my keychain to pay for something. I can't wait for the hack that lets people walk by you and get you to pay for things. It's bad enough credit cards have RFID tags in them now. I don't need my phone doing it too.

    • Re:I'll bite (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:26PM (#35043290)

      It's bad enough credit cards have RFID tags in them now. I don't need my phone doing it too.

      I disagree, although I think we share some common ground. I just received my first credit card with an RFID embedded. I don't like it because in order to "turn it off" I have to wrap it in tinfoil. Thus, I do want NFP. With my phone, I can actually run an app and (assuming a reasonable interface) only turn on its ability to do payments when I want to use it. It removes a security risk (or at least changes it from a risk from anyone who is near me to a risk from anyone who can remotely hack into my device and extract and decrypt info.

    • by hackstraw (262471)

      Why do I want this? I'm more than willing to get a piece of plastic out of my wallet or on my keychain to pay for something. I can't wait for the hack that lets people walk by you and get you to pay for things. It's bad enough credit cards have RFID tags in them now. I don't need my phone doing it too.

      Convenience would be the only attractor. The security issues are a non-issue because the banks will be responsible just like with credit cards, not the card carrier. At this time, I think that my wallet is more convenient because I have to have it with me. Drivers license, insurance cards, etc. I don't have to have my phone with me, and I would rather not be forced to carry both a wallet and a cell phone in order to go about my day to day business. Put all of my IDs on the phone, and I'm OK with it.

  • Why all the fuss (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:17PM (#35043238)

    I've seen a lot of stories pop up around this, but I'm not quite sure why - for one thing, doesn't the most recent Google Android phone already include an NFC chip and support in the OS? So it's not like Apple is the first here, they haven't even confirmed they are doing it!

    Also, in more general terms, I don't know why people get freaked out about this. It's just another way to pay for things.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Duradin (1261418)

      Android phone has NFC equipment: Yay! Huzzah! That is the way of the future.

      Apple device has NFC equipment: Boo! Hiss! Mark of the Beast. Evil conspiracy!

      That's why they needed this article.

    • I don't know why people get freaked out about this. It's just another way to pay for things.

      It's just another thing for people to hack. It's bad enough that Apple stores most of my credit card number on my Iphone.

      • Apple stores your CC details on your iTunes account, not your phone. Your phone will ask for the account password to authenticate media & app purchased though it, but the CC transaction details happen between apple and your CC company (not your phone).
    • by eclectro (227083)

      It's just another way for companies to empty your bank account quickly.

      FTFY. Our debt/credit obsessed society has nearly driven everyone into the ground, and many have been ground with the loss of their homes.

      Contactless payment is a BAD thing.

  • ...to take your money. That is all.

  • by j-stroy (640921) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:51PM (#35043466)
    "Service" charges on electronic cash transactions to me are little more than taxation without representation. The only choice one can make is who skims your money. If these services are to be a replacement for legal tender, what charter protects them as legal tender transactions? At what point does this bypass democracy? (Thinking of Wikileaks donation issue, among others).
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)

      Your dollar bill is legal tender for all debts, public and private. Not all sales, all debts.

      Handling cash isn't free, either. My local economists note that handling pennies alone costs the US economy half a billion dollars a year (they're kind of bulky obnoxious coins that you need to keep around to give as change, but no one will come back with them to replenish your stock). And if you have a big enough business that you need large numbers of bills and coins you're not just dealing with a bank; you're

      • by sjames (1099)

        All he's really saying is wouldn't it be nice if the government would issue something besides these 23 ton stone carvings as currency? We're tired of having to hire movers just to pay the gas bill! Something a bit more convenient for modern use like an electronic system perhaps?

        Your dollar bill is legal tender for all debts, public and private. Not all sales, all debts.

        And that is relevant how? That just means that I don't HAVE to accept cash for a sale. (mostly based on the fact that I am free to decline to sell at all if I like). It has no relevance to the question of government backed legal tend

    • by sjames (1099)

      Your question has been a big elephant in the room for a while, and extends well beyond just electronic payment. For example, consider how many people are forced to pay a 3% or more "payroll tax" to a check casher. It's the usual economic perversity that it only affects people who don't have much money to begin with. When you 'graduate' up from that, it's a choice of which financial institution you would like to let skim some money off of you as service charges. They cost you less than the check casher becau

    • by Hebbinator (1001954) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @03:04PM (#35043900)
      I also think they should give out free puppies because one if by day, two if by night! Or Four Score and Seven Years Ago or something.

      Co-opting historically patriotic catchphrases does not prove your point, it only underlines your lack of understanding about free economy and government. The fact that you dont like paying surcharges does not make this a constitutional matter.

      Paypal is a value-added service (many would argue against this, though), and it costs money to run it. If you dont like it, mail a check, or fly over to sweden or wherever wikileaks is now and pay them cash. By the way, checks cost you money. As do plane tickets. And ATM charges.
      • by j-stroy (640921)
        My reply to the comments:

        A business has to bear its own cost of doing its own business, ie maintaining its cash reserves, by deposit envelope, or armoured car. That is the business' own problem, not society's.

        That is different than a person who has a requirement in today's society to transact in cash to service their daily needs. It is the profiteering off these daily monetary transactions by these "meta businesses" that are vampiric and it then becomes political. The surcharges are essentially unavoi
        • I have read your "reply" with "things in quotation marks" and have "evaluated its merits." Here is my "reply:"

          For starters- the cost of doing business is calculated and accounted for in all successful business models. Cashiers (like in the grocery store) are paid to handle cash transactions. Companies all over the country are paid to secure cash and transport it from place to place. This affects the prices that you pay for things in cash, although it is not always immediately apparent. These costs a
  • Steve Jobs (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:53PM (#35043480)

    First Steve Jobs invents the computer. Then he invents the GUI. Then he invents the MP3 player. Then he invent the cell phone. Then he invents the tablet computer. Now he invents NFC. The man is single-handedly inventing everything!

    • Sure, but if Al Gore didn't invent the intertubes, then Apple would still have been just another little 2 billion dollar company...
    • by drhamad (868567)
      Steve Jobs has never claimed credit for any of this. But what he did do is reinvent those things in ways that made regular people like them and want to use them.
  • cost? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by green1 (322787) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @01:55PM (#35043488)

    My carrier recently rolled out a phone based payment system, I was asked to be part of the trial. I declined.

    They want me to spend $1.50 per transaction to use it. I can use my debit card for free, I can use cash for free, and my visa card actually pays me to use it, why on earth would I want to give my carrier $1.50 for each transaction? I don't pay bank fees, they already get the privilege of using my money while it's in their care, I refuse to pay money to get access to it.

    • by fredmosby (545378)
      Using a credit or debit card actually costs a similar amount of money. The cost is just hidden from you because the vendor normally pays the fee. Running a money distribution system costs money. Either you are paying for it directly or they are finding ways to make you pay for it indirectly.
      • by green1 (322787)

        If the cost to me of using cash is the same as using debit, then the debit card is essentially "free", my visa card gives me cash back on purchases, so it is in effect cheaper for me to use than cash. the hidden costs are irrelevant if there is no way to avoid them. Paying an extra $1.50 per transaction is significantly more expensive than cash, and can easily be avoided by using cash/debit/credit, so why would I pay it?

    • by nadaou (535365)

      It may be that your role in the carrier's trial was to find out the price that the market would bear for this service.

  • Apple as a bank (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @02:14PM (#35043606) Homepage

    "Near-field" isn't the issue. It's that Apple wants to be a payment processor, handling payments through iTunes and skimming off part of the transaction.

    We need a crackdown on payment systems run by non-banks. PayPal is generally agreed to be terrible at handling problems and acts irresponsibly with the money of others. Most of PayPal's competitors are worse. Payment systems need to be run only by companies subject to regulation as banks.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @02:45PM (#35043768)
      Cause banks have a long history of honesty and stability!
      • by dkf (304284)

        Cause banks have a long history of honesty and stability!

        By comparison with organizations handling payments that aren't banks? Yes. Alas.

    • by aug24 (38229)

      There should be regulation of any payment processor, but not necessarily the same as the banks.

      Further, there should be oversight and an ombudsman for the (almost) inevitable "He took my cash by walking past me!" exploit.

  • You know what's going to happen. Attackers don't even need to hack the OS. They just need to convince hapless users that their phone has x number of viruses and click here to fix the problem. IOS5 + near field payment + attackers = profit
  • I can't wait. Any engineer can probably buy the development kit for the retail side of this, hack it, and walk around creating fake transactions off any phone that has this. Wonderful! Never have to do honest work again! Of course, you'd have to have mules etc to cover the backtrail. One thing about digital money -- someone has to "collect" the value some way, and that's just about always easy to trace. So you need some fall guys, because some will be caught.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Yup, I'm sure they'll set it up so that Joe Random can just walk by and charge you a thousand dollars without you knowing it.

      After all, that's just the way Bluetooth pairing works. Isn't it?

      • by Haven (34895)

        Yeah, I'm really glad there were never any known bluetooth hacks. That was a really secure protocol.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          There were a few. Really widespread. I'm afraid to walk around with a Bluetooth device. Why, you just turn one on and all of a sudden people are connecting to it all over the place.

          Oh wait, no they're not.

          Any NFC phone will of course ask you for confirmation before completing a payment. The protocol itself might be more or less secure, but it's no more or less problematic than a debit or credit card.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      "Do you want to purchase this?"

      [Purchase] [Do Not Purchase]

      Followed by a whitelist of vendors so you wouldn't have to confirm if you didn't want to. Use some hefty encryption to make spoofing a legit vendor (or specific terminal of a vendor) more trouble than it's worth. Have the whitelist also be optional.

      Also have the NFP chip only power up if the phone is being held, in the same way the screen turns off due to the proximity sensor if it's by your head, set up a couple to detect when the phone is in your

  • by iliketrash (624051) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @05:43PM (#35044720)

    OK, this is going to a bit of a rant. As an electrical engineer, I object to the use of "near-field" to describe this nascent technology. To an antenna engineer, near-field means something very specific, relating to the size of the antenna and the wavelength of the waves with which it operates, and generally describing other aspects of the situation as amount of wavefront curvature and the phase relationships between certain fields.

    But I will concede the argument because I have lost every other attempt to avoid the subversion of technical terms by non-technical people.

    Any communication engineer knows the difference between bandwidth, channel capacity, and data rate and their relationship to signal-to-noise ratio. Yet the "technical" press has conflated these concepts into one, or rather, use "bandwidth" to mean usually either channel capacity or instantaneous data rate. I once attempted to repair the Wikipedia page on Bandwidth by allowing that there are two definitions, one of which is the "new-age" version and one of which recognizes the work of Claude Shannon; my edits were quickly reversed to include only the "new-age" definition, or, as the other editors called it, the "computer science" version.

    In the early 1980s, I wrote a letter to each of the three popular audio magazines of the day begging them to stop using "software" to refer to the information stored on Compact Discs which is properly called "data" or "information" or the like. I included dictionary definitions to bolster my argument. I received a polite reply from two of the three editors saying that they agreed with me but that it was too late--that train had already sailed. Oddly, nowadays that particular misuse has partially been corrected as people have come to realize that software is the stuff that makes their computers operate, while the stuff on CDs (and other media) is frequently referred to as "content."

    • by kwbauer (1677400)
      Hey Sheldon, you've never mentioned reading Slashdot on your TV show!
    • In this case it is not the media or other non-technical group that is responsible for the term, it is the ISO and other related organizations which have given it this name.

      Perhaps you can go into a bit of detail how this is not "near field"?

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