Apple fans who have been breathlessly waiting to try out the new near-field communication (NFC) functionality that the company has built into its new iPhone 6 models and Apple Watch will have to be content with only being able to use it with the Apple Pay system.
Yesterday, Cult of Mac sources indicated that Apple had put its NFC chip on "lockdown", restricting it to Apple Pay when the new iPhones launch this week. The Verge later said that Apple had confirmed its move to limit the NFC chip to Apple Pay.
"Apple has confirmed to The Verge that its NFC chip in the iPhone 6 is restricted to Apple Pay, the company's new mobile payments platform," said The Verge.
While other smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony, and HTC, have incorporated NFC functionality in their handsets for some time now, allowing the technology to be used with a number of applicable services and accessories, Apple's payments system will be the only function that NFC will support with the iPhone 6 — at least initially.
Given that Apple has chosen to allow third-party developers to use its Touch ID fingerprint-sensor technology with the upcoming iOS 8 release after initially restricting it to the iPhone 5s, it is not a far stretch to imagine that the company will eventually loosen the reins on its NFC functionality.
Although Apple Pay is set to be initially available only in the United States — with its launch slated for October — the company has alreadywith global credit card brands Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, along with some other US banks and retailers, in order to provide users with a broad palette with which to use the contactless payments system.
While the use of NFC payments systems is widespread in other regions such as Europe and Australia, it remains unknown when Apple's service will be available to users in areas outside of the US.
However, Visa Europe hasthat it is working with Apple and local banks to eventually roll out the service in the region.
"We are working closely with Apple and with our member banks to bring this new service to market in Europe," Steve Perry, chief digital officer at Visa Europe, said in a statement last week.