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Sep

On September 12, Apple officially unveiled the latest version of its popular smartphone, but many critics were surprised that the handset did not contain the technology necessary to make it capable of certain mobile transactions.

The iPhone 5 had a number of improvements over the older iPhone 4S model, including a thinner body, larger display screen, improved cameras, and faster processor, as well as the ability to connect to the LTE network, Apple announced in a lengthy presentation. But one of the new device's most notable deficiencies was a lack of near-field communications technology, which experts had been hoping to see in the phone.

NFC technology is necessary to complete mobile wallet transactions, which many experts have noted as being the most likely path for mobile purchasing in general to take in the near future. However, some worry whether Apple's decision to leave the technology out of the iPhone 5 will end up being detrimental to the move toward this type of contactless payment.

Possible explanations for leaving it out
There are many reasons why Apple might choose to eschew NFC technology for now, and not the least of which is that it might have a significant negative impact on the device's battery life. However, there are other concerns as well.

For one thing, it's possible that Apple simply wanted there to be more support in the real world for the technology before it rolls out any products containing NFC, according to a report from the tech news site CNET. Currently, there is relatively little support for NFC purchases in brick-and-mortar stores around the country, and while the number of participating merchants is growing, it was perhaps not enough to encourage the computer giant to throw its hat into the ring.

"[T]erminals at the point of sale must also be equipped to read the information from the NFC chips installed in devices," CNET's Maggie Reardon said. "The second big problem is that there are still business issues centering around who controls the customer via the NFC technology that's embedded in the device."

Passbook still in play
With all this having been said, Apple is still trying to get some types of mobile transactions to take off, according to a report from Adweek. Its new Passbook app was officially confirmed as part of the unveiling, and some of the details surrounding it paint a picture of a broader mobile deal marketplace.

For one thing, it will likely be used to help link consumers' personal accounts such as email or iTunes, to personalized deals issued by participating retailers, the report said. These could be based on their personal buying habits, meaning that a symbiotic relationship could emerge, in which stores will have more access to consumer data and in turn give those consumers access to deals on things they already buy. In the past, Apple has also said that users would be able to connect their Passbook apps to tickets to events, boarding passes, store loyalty accounts, and more.

Experts critical of move
Many in the smartphone industry have noted that while Apple has ignored the push for the company to adopt NFC technology on both its iPhones 4S and 5, the competition has not, according to a report from ZDNet. For instance, a small but growing number of Android phones, including the popular Samsung Galaxy SIII, already come loaded with the technology which makes mobile wallet purchases possible.

The potential problem for Apple is that it could be losing out on significant amounts of revenues due to its lack of participation in the market, the report said. The iPhone is one of the most popular mobile devices in the country, and consumers using it to complete everyday transactions would have simply continued to increase the size of Apple's war chest at an even more significant rate.

Indeed, Apple has some 435 million users worldwide on iTunes, most of whom turn over credit card details when they sign up, so in theory, linking an NFC-capable phone with those accounts would be relatively easy, and give the company a massive customer base right out of the gate, the report said. However, it seems the company is content to wait until at least the release of a potential iPhone 6 around this time next year to try again.

Mobile wallets are believed to be more secure than traditional credit card use, but if you want to better protect your finances, you should also take the time to check copies of your credit report. This will help you to determine whether any unfair markings are having a negative impact on your overall credit standing. If so, working with a credit repair service may help you to clear up the problem.


Posted in Technology updates