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."