Apple Takes Leadership Role in NFC Standards

Apple has gone its own way on numerous technologies, such as its Lightning and MagSafe connectors. But lately it looks like the company is embracing universal standards for some technologies. The new MacBook uses USB-C and the Apple Watch charger looks to be compatible with the Qi standard. One area where Apple had not adopted a third-party standard is Near Field Communication. NFC is what allows Apple Pay to work when a user brings an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus or an Apple Watch close to an Apple Pay terminal. But Android users have had NFC for years and been able to use it with a lot more devices. For example, instead of figuring out how to pair a speaker using Bluetooth, an Android user could just tap the speaker with their NFC-enabled smartphone.

Now, Apple is not only joining and sponsoring the NFC Forum, they are on the forum's board of directors. Apple will get a chance to mold the specification from within and customers will benefit from a single standard that all of their devices should work with. Imagine the ability to instantly connect your iOS device with portable speakers, charging docks, car stereos, headphones, or even other phones, whether they are Apple or Android, just by bringing them close to each other. There are already devices from vendors like TYLT that offer NFC, so perhaps we can expect those products to work with Apple gear and vice versa.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.