NFC — the technology that helps power Apple Pay as well other clever features for iOS apps like Launch Center Pro’s tappable stickers — is getting a big upgrade with the launch of iOS 13, due out this fall. Instead of only allowing iPhone apps to read NFC tags, apps will be able to write directly to blank tags, as well as interact with tags through native protocols. This opens up a range of new application possibilities, Apple told attendees at its Worldwide Developer Conference last week, including the ability to create apps that read passports and contactless smart cards and interact with NFC-enabled hardware.
We’ve already seen the potential for NFC that goes beyond just an easier way to check out at point-of-sale in a traditional retail environment, as with Apple Pay.
For example, both Apple and Google recently announced support for Apple Pay and Google Pay-enabled contactless payments for the NYC Subway. Portland offers something similar, as do several other international cities.
With the updates to the core NFC framework, however, the iPhone’s NFC capabilities will get even more powerful.
With iOS 13 (on iPhone 7 and up), users will be able to read a range of contactless smartcards and tags, including NFC-enabled passports and other government IDs.
There are already solutions in the works that will take advantage of this new feature.
For example, both Engadget Japan and Nikkei have reported the Japanese government will add support for NFC tag reading to Japan’s national ID (Individual Number Card) when iOS 13 launches later this year.
The news was confirmed by the Japanese government, via a tweet from an advisor to the government’s CIO:
In addition, the U.K. government’s NFC passport reader … Read the rest