The announcement of iOS 13 at the WWDC (Apple Worldwide Conference) held in June 2019 shifts NFC to the next phase. This next phase is a game-changer for NFC that has been controlling Apple apps and powering Apple Pay for a long time. In this conference, Apple unveiled a complete range of NFC’s access by exploiting the potential of NFC characteristics.
The ability of iOS applications to read NFC tags, write on NFC tags and practice native protocols for interacting with other NFC tags powers the NFC technology and ensures a vital evolution for NFC.
NFC and Apple Pay
Apple Pay is using NFC technology to ease payment transactions for Apple users. When a person carrying Apple’s iPhone or Apple watch arrives at a payment terminal, it reads data from his/her portable device through NFC technology and confirms transaction details for sale purposes.
The relationship between NFC and Apple Pay is increased after the WWDC conference as Apple plans to embed enhanced user experience in its devices through NFC technology.
Retailers and service providers get benefits from NFC stickers to activate Apple Pay payments; this makes it easy for customers to create accounts in their loyalty program. The efficiency of this method is different from other technologies as the whole procedure is performed without the installment of the application. This shows that customers trigger their Apple Pay card by just tapping an iPhone device in front of the NFC tag present in the payment card’s outer box.
Why iOS 13 is Important for NFC Technology?
Apple’s NFC capabilities are now more powerful due to the upgrade provided by iOS 13 in Apple’s Core NFC Framework. iOS 13 is important for NFC technology because all the Apple models ranging from iPhone 7 to iPhone 11 are mounted on iOS 13, and thus, they support NFC tags reading and writing functionalities across multiple protocols;
- NDEF or NFC Data Exchange Format is a standardized format required to exchange information between NFC devices or tags.
- MIFARE®, based on ISO 14443 standard, is the member of NXP IC family and widely used in providing contactless card solutions.
- FeliCa™ is a contactless RFID card system designed by Sony in Japan.
- ISO/IEC 7816 along with ISO/IEC 14443 in which ISO/IEC 7816 is a universal standard for smart cards such as passwords and IDs. ISO/IEC 14443 is also considered as a worldwide standard for proximity cards.
- ISO/IEC 15693 is the international standard for vicinity cards. These cards offer greater distance readability compared to proximity cards.
Whether the application is government, retail, remedial, shipment or security, the above list of protocols has the complete range of NFC potential, allowing the iPhone users to exploit them across different domains, areas and industries.
All in all, these features and protocols of NFC allow the Apple developers to embed the following characteristics;
- Advanced Security: iOS 13 is now supporting advanced security chip mechanisms of NFC including tag originality verification, cryptographic authentication and tamper status detection. The support of these NFC security mechanisms with a secret key enables the company’s ambassadors to use secure NXP DNA authentication technology such as NTAG DNA and ICODE DNA that are essential for protection against forging and digression.
- Enhanced Services: iOS 13 helps the users to experience contactless card services embedded with MIFARE DESFire, MIFARE PLUS, and MIFARE Ultralight IC. It brings the ‘‘tap to interact’’ feature in the hands of Apple’s users.
- More User Cases: iOS 13 carries the support for NTAG Connected Tags given by NTAG I2C and NTAG 5 families. The support includes configuration, diagnosis, firmware, and parameterization, enabling Apple’s customers to enter into the smart world.
- Innovative Writing: Since iOS 13 is capable of writing NDEF data on a tag along with lock command, it certifies user-generated on-tag writing for different domains such as adding personal information, emergency details, medical updates and much more.
- Sensitive Monitoring: iOS 13 holds NDEF writing that permits Apple’s users to configure NTAG SmartSensor tags. Through these tags, users can control security and login details; therefore, assisting while accessing sensitive applications.
Besides, the availability of the iPhone, the NFC usage also opens up new opportunities in a connected world, which is a combination of the digital and physical objects. Consequently, all the 3.5 billion smartphone users can not only experience NFC connectivity but also can interact with the smart application or IoT devices.
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