Apple will enable third-party app developers to get access to the NFC chip inside the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus via the iOS 11 that is coming soon.
According to a report, Apple Pay had been the only service allowed to use Apple’s near-field communications chip that enables contactless payments. Citing the keynote during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this week, the report says Apple hinted that the chip was being extended to more than payments when it showed how the Apple Watch could sync data with gym equipment. The report said a new developer document shows that third-party apps will be able to use the chip as well. In the document, it looks like the chip in the latest version of the iPhone can read any tag, not just an Apple Pay tag, and take actions on the tags based on the location of the phone. The NFC chip could enable different ways for iOS apps to communicate between Internet-connected devices and iPhones. It could also replace NFC-enabled keycards and transit passes, the report said.
The apparent opening up of the NFC with third-party apps comes amid a flurry of payment announcements. Apple also announced this week that its new iOS 11 will support the ability for users to send money to friends and family through its iMessage. During a separate WWDC presentation, the Cupertino, Calif., technology company said the P2P payments feature will be built into iMessage as an app that lets users send and request money from contacts with one tap. It will also automatically alert users when a contact tells them via iMessage that they owe the contact money and prompts users to send the payments. Users of iMessage can now send peer-to-peer payments via third-party apps, including Venmo and Square, but this marks the first time Apple is doing it on its own. The fact that the peer-to-peer payments will be integrated into its Apple Pay Service probably means its own app will overtake third-party ones.