The World Mobile Congress had quite the showing of near-field communication, or NFC, devices, but the technology is getting a cold shoulder from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The iPhone maker hasn’t implemented the technology in its devices yet, and may not do so anytime soon.
NFC technology allows for communication between devices that are located in close proximity, and one big area of implementation for it is in mobile payments. Getting a smartphone to double up as a credit card gives any device one more edge to corner customers, but the success of NFC depends on numerous factors going in its favor, and Apple’s support may not be one of them.
For NFC to work, retailers need to install equipment to scan and accept payments from compatible smartphones, which can be worth the effort if enough customers are using the technology. Device manufacturers also have to count on retailers to implement the technology, otherwise the NFC chip in a phone is as good as dead weight. The process can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. Manufacturers may omit the chip if they don’t think retailer support will be available, and retailers may not invest in the technology if they don’t believe manufacturers are going to implement it widely.
This may be part of the reason Apple decided not to include an NFC component in its latest iPhone…