Apple taps NXP to develop pay-by-touch tech for next iPhone

Apple is reportedly working with the Dutch chipmaker to add NFC support to the tech giant's new flagship smartphone.

Credit: Apple

Apple is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV to include pay-by-touch technology within the next iPhone range.

The tech giant is planning to add secure near-field communications (NFC) technology to the new iPhone, which will allow users to pay for items by touch, according to the Financial Times (subscription required). Citing people familiar with the matter, the publication says that NXP will provide the chips required to support the short-range wireless technology, and this will allow an iPhone to connect to payment terminals or ticketing systems wirelessly.

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In addition to NFC payments, partnership with the Dutch chip maker will also open up future opportunities for the Internet of Things (IoT), the sources say.

NFC technology allows devices to communicate wirelessly with other devices when tapped together, and this can be used not only to transfer files, but also make wireless payments.

While NFC payment terminals are often seen in Europe -- and chip-and-PIN payments are standard -- the United States still often relies on swiping and signing. If the next generation of iPhones are equipped with NFC, it may come at the right time as card providers including Visa begin the switch to chip-and-PIN in the US, and business cashier terminals will likely be upgraded across the country in the next few years as a result.

On Thursday, the iPad and iPhone maker sent out invitations for a media event in Cupertino, California on 9 September. Apple is expected to announce the company's latest flagship phone -- dubbed the iPhone 6 for lack of a better name -- and potentially a wearable device, such as a smart watch.