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Rumor: 4th-gen iPhone to be equipped with RFID reader

updated 08:45 pm EST, Thu November 5, 2009

Tech could help handset sync wirelessly

Apple is allegedly working on several iPhone prototypes that integrate RFID readers, according to Near Field Communications World. The report originated from a "highly reliable source" who contacted Einar Rosenberg, the CTO of Narian Technologies. Although Apple has submitted for several patents involving iPhone RFID, the report claims the technology is likely to be utilized in the next-generation handset.

Apple's related patents describe technology that would place an RFID reader embedded within a device's touchscreen. Users would be able to scan a tag simply by bringing the handset close to the object. The patent claims also include methods for allowing the iPhone or iPod to work as a tag, enabling authentication with other devices.

The source claims the prototype iPhones use RFID readers for service discovery, which relates to an Apple patent that surfaced several years ago. The filing describes methods for configuring Wi-Fi and networking settings using the tag information. After bringing the iPhone close to an AirPort base station or Mac, the handset could scan the tags and automatically configure the network and authentication settings without requiring manual input by the user.

"If Apple does it, expect every phone manufacturer and their sister to begin pumping out NFC enabled phones, at least for service discovery and sync," Rosenberg speculates. "Guess I'll be touching my iPhone to my Mac to link them together to sync iTunes by next year."

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Zigster

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2001


    how about start with a barcode reader

    that would be a decent first step

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    OK, so Apple has a patent application. That means this is 'right around the corner'?

    And, Rosenberg, maybe you missed it, but syncing your iPod to your Mac involves the entire act of plugging in a cable. Not exactly something so complex you'd need RFID chips to set up a network between the two. Esp. since you kind of need to plug it in anyways to charge the damn thing.

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