Apple will announce a change to the NFC at its global developer conference in June, which will feature a host of new ones Features for devices with embedded chips, such as opening NFC-enabled doors with an iPhone.
Citing Sources, The Information reports Apple will unlock the potential of near-field communication chips installed in millions of modern iPhones when it releases the next-generation iOS 12 operating system , The change could also be applied to Apple Watch, which also provides secure communication technology.
Since Apple's first NFC-enabled devices were launched in 2014 with iPhone 6 and 6s, the implementation of NFC was essentially limited to Apple Pay transactions. The decision to block access to the chip was partly designed to protect iOS, and later WatchOS, device users of unauthorized device access. With the new features, iPhones can unlock NFC-enabled doors and potentially transfer data to transport systems, personal authentication devices, and more.
According to the release, Apple employees are already using their iPhones to open doors at Apple Park, probably via custom badge readers published in the Federal Communications Commission's submissions last year. The access system was developed by Assa Abloy subsidiary HID Global, which offers similar NFC-based solutions for devices running Google's Android operating system.
A previous report claimed that Apple had been conducting discussions with HID to allow building access technology over NFC in the iPhone since at least 2014. The same report said the iPhone maker also discussed methods of emulation transit cards made by Cubic, suggesting possible ones Integration into mass traffic that goes beyond the current Apple Pay-based integrations with Japan's Suica and China's Beijing Transportation Smart Card and Shanghai Public Transportation Card
Apple has been slow to evolve the NFC policies since introducing the technology four years ago, but the company is taking steps to expand its limited functionality over the last year.
In 2017, for example, Apple released watchOS 4 with GymKit, a platform that enables two-way data synchronization between an Apple Watch and a stationary exercise machine. The authentication and pairing process is performed via NFC.
The launch of iOS 11 brought Core NFC, a framework that allows developers to use the iPhone's built-in NFC chip to scan NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) data tags. So far, only a few companies have used Core NFC, one of the first was the glucose reader manufacturer Abbott.
Perhaps more in tune with what Apple announced at WWDC, Yubico announced this week that its YubiKey NEO authentication key can be used to unlock iOS apps that integrate the YubiKit SDK.
Details of Apple's advanced NFC capabilities should be announced alongside "iOS 12" at WWDC on June 4. AppleInsider will be on hand in San Jose with live coverage of the keynote event and subsequent developer sessions.