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New iPhone is not likely to feature NFC: here's why

Posted: , by Victor H.

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New iPhone is not likely to feature NFC: here's why
We might have heard countless rumors about the upcoming sixth-generation iPhone from Apple, but while they all agree on some things like the larger, 4-inch screen, newer 32nm chip and LTE connectivity, the presence of a near-field communications (NFC) chip hasn’t been that universally agreed on.

Lastly, we saw an enigmatic square chip protected with an EMI shield (pictured on the image to the left) that is purported to be exactly that, an NFC chip. There is a couple of reasons why chances are that it’s not, all laid out in a sobering analysis of latest rumors by AnandTech.

The biggest one is the very essence of an NFC chip. Near field communication happens through a magnetic field that requires a big inductor. Technically, this translates into a need for as much of a wire coil as possible. This requires space and so far most uninterrupted space on a smartphone has been either on the back plate itself or on the battery. It's no surprise then that Samsung for example has built in NFC in the back cover or the battery in its latest devices.

But with the new iPhone's rumored unibody metal back, there is a problem – you have the cover in the way of the antenna, severely disrupting the NFC signal. The second logical conclusion is that if NFC is to be included in the new iPhone, it has to be at the very top and bottom, where Apple is allegedly placing RF windows for cellular connectivity. The minimum space available there is the first problem, but also Apple would have to redesign the device so that the NFC chip stands right in the middle, as that's the preferred alignment so far.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus battery with NFC.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus battery with NFC.

So back to that mysterious EMI-capped chip that's leaked – what is it? Interestingly, it could be for controllers working with the new in-cell touch screen.

So bottomline is that given rumors so far, all engineering logic points to no NFC on the next iPhone. Does this mean that the new iPhone won't have NFC for sure? Not really. It still could, and traces of NFC-related code have been found in hardware code dumps. Also, Apple has a patent for an NFC chip that shows it could be located exactly at the tiny space on top. Moreover, with the current design likely to be used in 2013 as well, the lack of NFC will be a disadvantage for Cupertino in 2013 as well, and Apple might not want to allow that. 

So far, everything is in the air and we'll know for sure on September 12th, but until then, you've heard pretty much all the arguments for and against NFC on the new iPhone.

source: AnandTech

65 Comments
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posted on 28 Aug 2012, 08:53 39

1. wendygarett (unregistered)


The answer is obvious!!! Because iphone don't even have the blutooth file transfer!!!

Why would iphone wanna give you the 'iBeam' when you cant even transfer file via bluetooth?

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:04 10

3. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


No Wendy, no NFC this go around because that will be iMplemented into the iPhone 5S six months, or so, after the release of iPhone 5.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:06 9

5. kartik4u98 (Posts: 511; Member since: 19 May 2012)


I like when you give your views against Apple.!

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 10:04 5

18. wendygarett (unregistered)


but i still wanna to buy it someday tho :)

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 10:05 1

19. JessJess (unregistered)


Coming up on PA next:http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57501553-37/apple-patent-points-to-another-step-on-the-road-to-nfc/

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 17:53 8

49. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


And I can see the rationale from the Apple fans already.....its not necessary. Its useless...etc, etc.

Guess what happens when the next iPhone gets NFC...it all of a sudden becomes the greatest thing in the world...

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 20:45

59. JessJess (unregistered)


Which is exactly what Android fans do. What's your point?

They are called 'fans' for a reason.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 21:12 2

60. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


If I recall....not many Android fans never said the Retina Display wasnt necessary...but I remember many iPhone, Apple fans saying 800x400 screen res was unnecessary.....while the 3GS was on a lower screen res.

I remember many Android fans pointing out how Apple, iPhone fans all of a sudden thought higher screen res was great now that the iPhone 4 had it.

Thats my point.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 22:38

63. JessJess (unregistered)


.......... Ok if you want.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 08:56 17

2. frydaexiii (Posts: 1460; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


*snicker*snicker* So what's so innovative this round? More Siri languages? Zero-shutter lag?

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:08

6. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


They did 'zero shutter lag' already; my guess is more SiRi languages so that more people around the world can talk to themselves in long mundane diAlogue like John Malkovich in the TV spots.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:09 13

7. kartik4u98 (Posts: 511; Member since: 19 May 2012)


0.4 inches screen increase..Forgot ha??

It's ReVoLuTIoNaRy!!!!!

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:39 6

12. CharlieAtInfinity (Posts: 253; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


Already have zero shutter lag on my Xperia Arc S :)

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 10:06 2

20. JessJess (unregistered)


The snickers were a lie. So hungry.

posted on 29 Aug 2012, 04:05 1

65. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)


let me guesss.. another crappy processor they made named ''A7''...
the proccessor is actually not that good- its just the iPhone's UI and OS IS JUST TO SIMPLE- a Galaxy ace with iLauncher on it runs as fast as an iPhone.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:05 5

4. spiderpig2894 (Posts: 595; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


The Xperia P managed the NFC Xperia SmartTags with its aluminum body

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:21 1

10. doejon (Posts: 398; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


but its not a unibody cuz areas where the nfc-chip and other antennas are are NOT covered with aluminum!

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:29 1

11. mas11 (Posts: 1034; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


Probably because it would cut into Apple's profit margin.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:45 2

13. structureman116 (Posts: 139; Member since: 14 Sep 2010)


Ummm...PA could have saved a lot of space on this page by just writing one sentence on this topic..."The reason why is because its another Apple piece of $h*t"!!

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:53 6

14. frydaexiii (Posts: 1460; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


You know what I think this is? Imagine

Now : "New iPhone is not likely to feature NFC: here's why"

When new iPhone is released : "OMG! IT HAS NFC! SO INNOVATIVE!!!!!"

So they just made something that should have been, into an overhyped feature.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:58 1

15. gameday78 (Posts: 48; Member since: 17 Mar 2012)


all of these rumors are chasing people away from buying a new phone... What gives anyone the right to keep passing these along. I was watching my local news and they were talking about it like its set in stone and i know customers are buying into it. so if sept comes and we dont have an iphone launch they are gona freak out... please stop spreading this crap till u know or hear anything from apple. fyi the world will end in dec i read it online!

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 09:59 1

16. ekia007 (Posts: 61; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


that will be infringment in patent. you can't copy that Apple

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 10:01

17. bucky (Posts: 2698; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


i have yet to really see a use for nfc. Apple will most likely make is usefull somehow.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 11:54 2

30. aokde (Posts: 186; Member since: 09 Jul 2012)


here you go:
1-http://youtu.be/LfkFgtoQtFQ
2-http://youtu.be/DSpbqNmDjJ4
3-http://youtu.be/DsaJMhcLm_A

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 17:56 3

50. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Android and other mobile OS's that use it now already made it useful.

Please dont fall for the Apple hype...just because Apple isnt using it doesnt means its useless. You probably think 4G/LTE is a waste of time now too...

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 18:45

54. bucky (Posts: 2698; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


I realize that it's not new to the industry but for some reason apple always puts it together. Nobody really cared about video chat before FaceTime. Nobody really paid attention to ppi, thinness of a phone and accessories either before the the 4 came along. I'm not a bias apple fan as I love My sgs2 but apple always makes it work as it should.

Guess we will see what they will do with it mainly with accessories i think.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 19:01 2

55. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Thats the thing. When Android and Win Mo phone had a higher screen res and ppi....it didnt matter....cuz it was higher than the 3GS. And Android and Win Mo companies didnt hype it like Apple does.

Apple comes and hypes up the Retina Display...now all of a sudden it matters. Phones with higher screen res and ppi were already there, just not hyped beyond belief.

Apple isnt dealing with LTE yet on the iPhone because it a battery drain and kinda unstable. I'm surprised the iPad is LTE....maybe because of the big battery...By the time the iPhone gets it...LTE tech will be more mature...and ppl will think its better because Apple did it. When its really just LTE tech will be better by then.

The more I see it...Apple are the masters of hype. Without really giving real credit to why its good or better on their products.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 19:58

56. bucky (Posts: 2698; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


I fully get what u r saying. Maybe it's just a case of paying full attention to that one feature and making sure it runs as it should. Though the iPhone does lack slightly in the features compared to android it does everything in baby steps(updates) and makes sure they just work.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 10:39 2

22. pankajgupta (Posts: 59; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)


Never read article on PA that S3 (or a particular Android smartphone) wont have NFC or wud have NFC, wud have that dfeature, wont have that feature..
Only when it comes to Apple, even if a simple feature is present or absent, a new article is written.
Seriously.. no one cares about apple that much... why is every feature in Apple is given so much importance.

posted on 28 Aug 2012, 11:15 4

24. Savage (unregistered)


No NFC? I'm sorry, How behind is gonna be Apple now? Should we wait for one more year?

They better have LTE in their iPhone this September.

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