According to The Wall Street Journal, which has a respectable track record at reporting on Apple’s upcoming product plans, Apple will include near field communication, or NFC, in the iPhone 6 and its upcoming smartwatch, two products that are expected to be unveiled side-by-side at the company’s September 9th media event next week.
The report, citing people familiar with the matter, claims that the short-range wireless technology will be utilized by the so-called “iWatch” for mobile payments and broader ambitions beyond health and fitness tracking. NFC technology could also simplify the process of connecting or pairing the iWatch with the iPhone 6.
“NFC wireless is central to Apple’s plans to incorporate so-called tap-to-pay into its mobile devices, allowing users to pay for goods and services using credit cards stored with iTunes, people close to Apple said,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
NFC could also be used for devices to work by tapping one another, and Apple could extend the technology to its HomeKit connected home framework for developers and other software and services.
The Wall Street Journal was told by sources that the upcoming iWatch will reportedly be offered in two sizes, featuring a curved OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, display with sensors for tracking and monitoring health and fitness data. The iWatch has been rumored to feature a curved OLED display since at least June.
As we have heard on multiple occasions in the past, the report corroborates that the iWatch may not launch until 2015 due to manufacturing challenges. Apple is expected to unveil its first wearable alongside the iPhone 6 next week, but the actual release date of the device could be delayed for at least several more months.
“One person familiar with Apple’s suppliers said there is ‘no way’ that it will be able to ship the iWatch this year,” the report claims. “However, Apple hasn’t changed its timetable for component suppliers that are shipping parts as scheduled to Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc., the proposed device’s manufacturer.”
Apple reportedly plans to accept pre-orders for its smartwatch ahead of its release, although it remains unclear how much the iPhone maker would charge for the device. Apple could sell at least 33.5 million iWatch units through 2015, based on at least 10 percent of active iPhone users adopting the smartwatch following its launch.
One thing is for certain: it will be exciting to see if the iWatch is a smash hit among consumers like the iPhone, iPad, Mac and other Apple products. The existing smartwatch market has been relatively slow in gaining traction, largely because most wearables have had limited features or require pairing with a smartphone.
A later-than-anticipated launch of the iWatch is said to have minimal effect on Apple’s bottom line, given that the majority of the company’s finances are driven by the success of the iPhone, iPad and Mac product lines.
In the meantime, much of the attention will be on the highly-anticipated iPhone 6 with a larger screen that many users have been clamming for. The smartphone is expected to be available in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models, and we’ve posted an iPhone 6 Rumor Roundup with other speculated features, hardware leaks and more.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.[via The Wall Street Journal]