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Apple to limit iPhone 6 NFC to Apple Pay, restrict developer access

According to a report on Monday, Apple is restricting developer access to the NFC module found in the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, limiting the component to first-party Apple Pay services only.




While Apple's new iPhone 6 lineup is the first to incorporate near-field communications hardware, it seems the company will keep the component on lockdown as it makes an entrance into secure digital payments with Apple Pay.

An Apple spokesperson told Cult of Mac that developers will not be able to access NFC chip APIs this year, meaning the component is included in the iPhone 6 as a dedicated payments solution component. Apple is likely employing a "go slow" approach to NFC as the technology, and its security, is a vital cog in the Apple Pay system.

Competing smartphone manufacturers like Samsung use NFC for quick device pairing, data transport and other functions. For its part, Apple has a higher-bandwidth stand-in with the iBeacon protocol, which harnesses Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi for fast recognition and rich data throughput.

While there are no plans to release the appropriate NFC module APIs to developers, Apple could open up access in the future as the technology matures within the iOS ecosystem. For example, iOS 8 now allows developer access to the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which was first introduced with the iPhone 5s in 2013.