right_division Green SCM Distribution
Bookmark us
SCDigest Logo

Focus: RFID and Automated Identification and Data Collection (AIDC)

Feature Article from Our RFID and AIDC Subject Area - See All

From SCDigest's OnTarget e-Magazine

March 1 , 2011

RFID and Auto ID News: Not Clear What it Is, but Rumors Swirl that Apple is Building Major New RFID/Near Field Communications Innovation for iPhone5

Rumors of Unique Twist for iPhone would Imply more than e-Wallet Capabilities, but Everyone is Guessing from There


SCDigest Editorial Staff

The tech industry is hot with rumors that Apple plans to announce a highly innovative use of RFID and "near-field communications" when it releases a new, fifth generation version of its iPhone.

Recently, securities analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities issued a research note that there has been a rising interest in NFC, of which RFID is a part, at recent consumer electronics events.

SCDigest Says:

We also wonder whether some of these developments may not filter down into supply chain applications as well. One thing that comes to mind is using the cell phone as an electronic signature, for example.
What Do You Say?
Click Here to Send Us Your Comments
Click Here to See Reader Feedback

White said that his sources have indicated to him that the next iPhone will include NFC technology, but with an approach will reportedly have "a twist that will make it unique versus its peers," such as producers of Google's Android phones.

However, there were no specifics from White regarding what this surprise "twist" could be.

That hasn't stopped industry pundits from speculating, however.

White had reported earlier that a new phone from Samsung will feature NFC technology, and that Google is pushing RFID as a technology that "has the opportunity to revolutionize electronic commerce and payments." This generally refers to cell phones serving as what is usually referred to as an "e-wallet," enabling consumers to pay for purchases by pointing their cell phones at POS terminals, vending machines, gas pumps, etc., that are affixed with RFID readers and supporting software.

Given those developments, many suggest that if Apple is building a unique twist, it must be planning for something more than basic e-wallet technology.

On the appleinsider blog, Neil Hughes noted last week that in late 2010, one tech industry rumor claimed that Apple would use NFC technology in both its future iPhones and Macs to allow RFID-enabled "remote computing." Under that scenario, users to securely turn a nearby Mac into their own personal computer, complete with custom settings, personal passwords, and even desktop backgrounds (though even if technically feasible, this does not seem like an especially useful application to us).

Hughes also notes that Apple has filed patents related to NFC technology, including one that concerns enabling users to obtain information about a range of products wirelessly and instantly. Examples of potential uses for the service, called "Products+," included obtaining information about a product to receiving promotions and coupons.

That is increasingly being done using bar codes (QR Code), in which the scanner on a cell phones reads the code and launches a web page with such information and offers.

What would be the advantage of an RFID-based approach to this technology? That isn't clear, except that with RFID marketers could know precisely where the consumer was when the read/scan was made, which may provide some useful information to them.

(RFID and AIDC Story Continued Below)




Apple is said to have been busy hiring near-field communications technologists of late, and is also rumored to be testing RFID-enabled iPhones in the past few months.

Companies should obviously keep well abreast of developments here, as anything changing the dynamics and capabilities of the almost universally-carried cell phones could have a big impact on marketing tactics.

We also wonder whether some of these developments may not filter down into supply chain applications as well. One thing that comes to mind is using the cell phone as an electronic signature, for example.

Can you envision any applications/capabilities Apple could put into an RFID-enabled cell phone beyond e-wallet functionality? Would love to hear your ideas? Can these developments find their way into the supply chain as well? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below.

ur feedback

Recent Feedback


No Feedback on this article yet