A spokesperson from Apple confirmed the restriction of the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology wherein Apple is the latest key player following the likes of Nokia, Sony and Samsung. Developers will not be able to fully utilize the NFC chip functionality for a period of one year. At least for now, Apple gives a certain timeframe which everyone hopes would be shortened or at least be incapable of an extension.
NFC has a wide range of uses. These would include enabling a smartphone to pair with speakers for an audio playback, allowing two devices to share contact information, and opening up the world of customizable automation with any NFC-supported device. However, all these functions are temporarily unavailable for Apple fans to enjoy on their new iPhone devices.
At the recently concluded Apple event, the iPhone maker formally announced the new mobile payment service dubbed as Apple Pay. Along with the announcement, Apple confirms that it is using the NFC chip solely with system.
"At the moment, there isn't any open access to the NFC controller," said RapidNFC, a provider of NFC tags. "There are currently no NFC APIs in the iOS 8 GM SDK - which would indicate that the NFC capability will be restricted to Apple Pay at launch."
While it is true that Apple is limiting the NFC access, it should be noted that the company may allow developer access to a certain extent. Apart from the iPhone 6 devices, Apple announced that the upcoming Apple Watch will also have the NFC feature. Perhaps Apple would add more accessibility to the NFC technology on the iPhone 6 as soon as the company's smartwatch launches early next year.
In the meantime, Apple demonstrated the extended capability of its NFC chip by using it to unlock a hotel room. Eventually, some of its partners will earn some NFC access before it becomes open to all developers. As the technology of its touch-less payments system is relatively new; it's understandable why Apple decides to keep it closed as it familiarizes itself with the feature.
Apple Pay is initially launching in the U.S. next month and will be used as an update to iOS 8. It is a feature that will be added in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. The new payment service will be compatible with MasterCard, American Express and Visa credit and debit cards. It will also have 220,000 U.S. retail stores as its partners. Sooner or later, Apple is launching an Apple Pay API that will cater to developers who would want to integrate the service into their apps.