On stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple talked about the host of features coming to iOS 11 devices by the end of this year. While we expected new app updates, UI refreshes, and other add-on features, but Apple opening its arm to embrace the Core NFC framework to expand the features of the technology beyond its use for just mobile payments via Apple Pay surely sounds like something new.
While Cupertino talked about new near-field communication (NFC) features coming to the Apple Watch via the watchOS 4 update, saying the wearable will now be able to communicate with all compatible gym equipment. It, however, skipped on the details of the iPhone’s NFC chip also becoming capable of handling much more functions than the present feature set. This development was first spotted by Engadget within documentation for the beta version of the upcoming iOS 11 update.
Presently, the NFC chip embedded within the iPhone is employed only to complete Apple Pay requests between the device and the point-of-sale (PoS) system. This has been the case because it’s Apple and it loves to restrict the functionality of technologies and its access to other third-party developers.
With the new Core NFC framework, Apple is now looking to move past its age-old apprehensions and open the wireless technology to third-party developers. This will enable an iOS app to scan NFC tags to give users more info about the physical environment and real-world objects. It has been described in the documentation as under:
A new framework for reading Near Field Communications (NFC) tags and data in NFC Data Exchange Format.
It is presently unknown whether Cupertino plans to employ the expanded NFC capabilities for use inside its own apps or extend the same to developers. If the latter happens then it could open up doors for some innovative applications of the tech, turning an iPhone into a one-stop device with access to most functions around us.
This means you will soon be able to point or tap your phone at museum paintings, which carry NFC tags, to gain access to more info about the same. The company could also be looking at more general, daily-life uses such as pairing Bluetooth speakers with a tap or using your iPhone as a transit/workplace access card. This means NFC could soon adopt a larger role in the iOS ecosystem, which is not generally expected from Apple.