I ordered the new iPhone 5S, upgrading from an iPhone 4 so it’ll be a relatively large leap in technology.
Apple usually adds one major feature per upgrade (Retina, Siri, TouchID), and is currently catching a lot of flack for not having NFC.
My prediction for the next iPhone is that it will have NFC, and it will be linked with the TouchID sensor. Likely it will be called “TouchPay” and Apple will pursue relationships directly with retailers, or piggyback on the existing Visa/MC NFC efforts (PayWave? PayPass?).
What brought it to mind was the comedian on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” who said “Apple just sits around inventing stuff up for people to be frustrated with. God! I can’t believe how long it takes to type in four numbers for my PIN.”
While mentally salivating for the new phone, I started imagining how you would have to use the TouchID sensor to unlock the phone. Would you be able to use just one finger / fingerprint, or would you be able to use both index and thumb? How would you hold the device.
I was travelling at the time and during the ceremonial “human pit stop” of taking everything off and putting it into the bins, I had taken my belt, keys, and wallet and put them into my backpack ahead of time. I kept my phone in my pocket and put that into the bin separately with my shoes.
That’s when it hit me. The next iPhone will try to be a replacement for your wallet. I already have two friends who use one of the cases that let you slide in credit cards / cash (basically a mini-wallet).
Assuming the next device has NFC, you’ll grab the phone, holding the home button with your thumb, and tap it onto existing NFC payment terminals.
Apple is basically releasing TouchID in this generation of phones to acclimate people using it as a “fig-leaf” of security. PIN codes aren’t to keep serious hackers out, but instead to keep some modicum of privacy against strangers. Same with the fingerprint sensor. If you’re hacker enough to defeat a fingerprint sensor, you’ll be hacker enough to figure out somebody’s unlock PIN.
By making the fingerprint sensor “unlock” the NFC capabilities, and with a year’s worth of acclimation and bugfixes to Apple’s touch technology, you’ll finally have an NFC payment system people will trust. Bring something, know something, be something is the “iron triangle” of security / identification, and linking NFC + a smart device + biometrics adds that second factor authentication to NFC payments.
- iPhone 6 will target being a “wallet-replacement”
- Passbook handles most of your “loyalty”, ID and insurance cards
- Passbook also handles “tickets” (Lufthansa’s implementation is really good!)
- iPhone 5S introduces fingerprint-to-unlock
- NFC is finally popularized (Apple is letting Samsung lay the foundation)
- iPhone 6 will have NFC support
- NFC support for payments will be a natural extension of fingerprint-to-unlock
- TouchPay.com is owned by an individual, currently “under construction”
- Apple is currently pursuing at least one state to allow some form of “Digital Drivers License” (ie: Passbook support)
- …or you’ll just leave your license in your glove box day-to-day.
These thoughts aren’t all that new, an article from a year and a half ago makes many of the same arguments. But I’m putting my predictions out on the line, launch weekend, and am willing to take bets against it.