We’ve heard over the last few months that Apple’s iOS platform will predominantly be about stability and attempting to ensure a more positive user-experience across all devices. Now, coming via The Information, it’s being suggested that iOS 12 will also offer new access to the NFC chip housed inside of iPhone.

The report is basing the information on the belief that Apple would want its iPhone hardware to be used in a lot more contactless situations other than just for use with payments through Apple Pay.

One potential case for this type of use would be allowing an iPhone running iOS 12 to double-up as a hotel room key that could be used to gain access to a hotel room door. In order to facilitate this, any developer of said software would need to access to the NFC chip inside of the device in order to make it happen. Apple has been shipping iPhone hardware complete with NFC chips since iPhone 6.

Apple has already started the process of allowing access to certain functionality facilitated by the inclusion of an NFC chip in its hardware, albeit on a very rudimentary level. The iOS 11 SDK added the CoreNFC framework, accessible by developers consuming those APIs, which used the NFC chip in devices to read information from RFID tags. And that’s pretty much as far as it went. The designs of the APIs within that framework is also very limiting meaning there is not a lot that developers can do with it and that Apple would likely need to entirely rethink the framework to make it usable.

The report is also suggesting that Apple is testing the feasibility of this type of new functionality in partnership with HID Global, the security company responsible for the security system at Apple’s new Apple Park campus.

Apple can also see a huge use for this type of functionality beyond just allowing access to hotel rooms in terms of replicating physical transportation cards, similar to how it currently does with the iPhone 7 and its FeliCa chip which is in use solely in Japan.

With WWDC just a matter of days away, and with iOS 12 expected to be the huge announcement of the opening keynote, we expect to see more on this one during that event.

(Source: The Information)

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