iPhone 5 launches with new features but no NFC

Posted on 13 Sep 2012 by Tim Brown

Apple yesterday announced the highly anticipated iPhone 5, the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, but the phone offers few improvements for the business user.

The new phone promises better display, a taller screen, faster performance and better battery life but the highly anticipated inclusion of near field communications (NFC) failed to materialise.

NFC, which is currently available on a number of current non-Apple devices,  uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and can be used for contactless credit card transactions, to replace tickets or hotel keys, data exchange as well as a host of potential industrial applications.

For manufacturers now enjoying the benefits of RFID in the factory, the inclusion of the technology on the iPhone would have most certainly proved useful but Apple maintains that NFC is not mature enough yet.

Instead Apple opted to launch with its new iOS 6 mobile operating system, the Passbook app. The app will deliver coupons to the users phone relevant to their location ie. step into your local Starbucks and the phone will alert you of any relevant offers that might be available.

Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller told AllThingsD that Passbook alone does what most customers want and works without [replacing] existing merchant payment systems. “It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem, Schiller said. “Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today.”

NFC however does have the potential for wider applications outside of simple transactional commerce. But the apparent lack of foresight is in keeping with Apple’s policy of not incorporating technology in its products unless the infrastructure is already in place for popular use.

The most important update for business users is the new fast 100Mbs 4G connectivity, which allows iPhone 5 users to receive and send emails, download and upload files significantly faster than before, as well as making video conferencing a buffering-free proposition. However, currently the only network to offer the 4G network this year will be newcomer EE. Other providers such as O2 and Orange will begin to rollout the new network next year.

“iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’ve packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it.”

Romford–based Coborn Engineering has been one beneficiary of the boom around iPhone 5, which is driving strong demand in its crystal diamond tools.

“This product requires the use of single crystal diamond tools and we now have customers demanding every machine we can make in order to meet demand from Foxcon and Apple,” said managing director, Steve Westlake.