iPhone unlocking door wirelessly
Image: Nuki Smartlock

According to statistic analytics company Statista, 87 million people used Apple Pay as of August 2017. Yet Apple is looking to provide even more functionality through its NFC chip, which is the technology that powers Apple Pay and allows users to pay for goods and services.

According to a source speaking with The Information, Apple is working on upgrades to its wireless chip that will allow iPhone users to unlock doors, securely pay transit fares, and more.

Apple is expected to announce the technology next month at the WWDC, alongside the reveal of iOS 12.

The change to the near-field communication, or NFC, chip, which is expected to be announced next month, could pave the way for people to use iPhones for other security-sensitive interactions, from paying transit fares and opening car doors to verifying their identity in other ways.

Already, employees at Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, Calif., are using their iPhones to gain access to buildings and offices, suggesting that the technology has been deployed there, people familiar with the matter said.

This isn’t a recent project by Apple though. For the past few years, the company has set its sights on improving the capabilities of its NFC chips. This is just another step to achieving their goal of a completely wireless experience.

Many companies have products that allow mobile users to unlock doors wirelessly, such as the Nuki SmartLock or the Kisi Reader. But these products use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) on iOS devices, so the ability to use NFC will be a welcome and more secure method.

NFC offers a more secure data transfer method, mostly because of its small signal reach limitation. In order to exchange information between two NFC-enabled devices, they must be less than about 4 centimeters apart. Due to this, people looking to steal the data from those signals have to be standing right in front of you.

This will be a huge step forward for Apple as they look to integrate their ecosystem into more companies and government institutions.




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