According to a new report, Apple will lock down the NFC chip hidden inside the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, restricting its use to the simultaneously announced Apple Pay wireless payments system. An Apple representative confirmed the news to CultofMac.com, saying NFC is currently only for use with the in-house software.
The introduction of NFC on the iPhone has been rumored and requested for several years, so to have it arrive, and then find out it’s not all that was hoped for, may come as a blow to some potential iPhone 6 buyers. NFC is used for a wide variety of things, from fast and easy pairing with wireless accessories, to communicating with keyless locks on your house. Most often though, NFC is used for wireless payments, but on the iPhone the only option will be to use Apple’s own system.
Related: How Apple Pay works
It’s hardly a surprise. NFC is being treated in a similar way to the fingerprint sensor introduced on the iPhone 5S. While other smartphone manufacturers have opened up the fingerprint sensor to developers, or added a wealth of functionality to it on the device; Apple’s Touch ID sensor is only used to unlock the phone or approve iTunes payments.
This could change in the future for both the Touch ID and NFC, and Apple may let preferred partners gain access to their capabilities. Regarding NFC, Apple has already teamed up with Starwood hotels so iPhone 6 owners can use their device to unlock hotel doors, which appears to use NFC technology. Early tests like this could pave the way for other companies to take advantage of the iPhone 6’s new feature.
In the meantime, stop dreaming about tapping your iPhone 6 on your wireless speaker to connect the two together, because it’s ability will be strictly limited to Apple Pay.