Apple to open up the iPhone's NFC chip to some third parties in iOS 12?

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According to a report published on Friday, Apple plans on opening up the NFC chip on the iPhone to some third party developers with the release of iOS 12. Apple first added the NFC chip to the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus so that the handsets could communicate with POS devices for Apple Pay. But by opening up the NFC chip, Apple will be able to add more capabilities for NFC beyond allowing users to pay for purchases with the phone.

Apple wants iPhone users to be able to use their handsets to open hotel rooms, or as a transit card that would allow users to board a subway car, a bus, or a commuter train merely by tapping their handset on a pad. In the U.K., using the phone as a transit card is already possible, while a chip inside iPhone units made since 2016 allows the device to do the same thing in Japan. While some hotels currently allow the iPhone to be used to unlock a room, this is currently achieved using a Bluetooth LE signal, which is not as secure as NFC.

It is unclear whether Apple will add the necessary APIs to its SDK for any developer to use, or whether the company will limit the new capabilities to certain partners via the NFC chip itself. Considering trWe should hear more about this when Apple unveils iOS 12 at WWDC 2018. The annual developers conference starts on June 4th.

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