Rights now, the Near Field Communication (NFC) sensors present in the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus are limited to in app and merchant payments but it appears that Apple wants to extend their capabilities not only to transit payments but also to building access as well.
Recent reports buzzing the net say that the Cupertino firm is in talks with several NFC technology company like Cubic (transit fare system) and HID Global (secure building access) about possible future tie-up. Although company spokespeople politely refused to say anything, executives involved in the talks did comment about how Apple Pay could be integrated into their system.
Quoting one reporter:
“Apple could easily allow for Clipper cards to be uploaded into the phone, with key information stored in the phone’s “secure element,” along with bank cards used through Apple Pay, and let people tap their phones at the BART turnstiles to transmit the information to the card reader using the iPhone’s NFC chip.”
Presently, the NFC chip in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is a closed system meaning third party developers are not allowed to tinker with it and its main function is uniquely for the Apple Pay system only. Reports also say that Apple does not have any plan of opening up NFC access for now and is in the process of selectively choosing partner for NFC support. While this could be the situation right now, things may develop in the future similar to Apple’s TouchID system which Apple also had a tight hold, but eventually relented and opened up when iOS 8 was released and given third party developers access to their fingerprint system for their apps.
Only the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have fully functional NFC chips in them complete with the logics and antennas needed to consummate Apple Pay. Though the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 have the same NFC chips incorporated in their respective hardware configurations, these lack the mentioned logics and antennas to properly complete the tap to pay function of the iPhones and are restricted to in app purchases only.
Next year, the Apple Watch will also have the same NFC technology as the new iPhones. The Apple Watch will be backwards compatible with older iPhones like the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5 so
users may expect Apple Pay functionality to come to their devices as well despite the fact that these older units do not have NFC sensors built into them.