I’ve read a few articles floating around the Internet about how Apple will be OK without NFC in the iPhone 5. Well to be honest, as a marketer and developer, that sucks. Apple had the opportunity to enable marketers and developers to create some really great experiences with NFC and instead we have to wait because they want to control mobile payments.
What we know about the maturity of most technologies is that it’s got to be native and it has to have backing from those that control the industry. Unfortunately, Apple has decided to stifle adoption and growth of NFC by not giving it to its users. Now users, who aren’t familiar with NFC, can’t learn to use it and determine a preference, that REALLY sucks! What Apple is doing is a combination of feature shelving and misdirection. They tell us the feature is about 1 thing (mobile payments) so we forget it can be used for other things. They’ve done it before. They left NFC out so that they could control the mobile wallet experience and its cash flow. They essentially want us to forget that NFC has tons of untapped potential outside of payments.
With an NFC enabled iPhone we’d see much more integration and innovation from app maker because the iPhone audience would have access to the technology. Proximity development would jump tremendously, think: personal preferences integration, portable and accessible health records, faster data exchange and much more. Apple is simply trying to control one use case so they don’t have to work as hard to sell their software.
As a marketer I’m even more frustrated because as a strategist I’d love to integrate NFC tagging into some concepts for our clients. For example, we have retail clients that could use NFC for much more than payments and create a rich and interactive experience for their customers. We can still do it but for now it’d be limited to NFC enabled devices. Right now NFC enabled devices reside primarily in the Android ecosystem, and that truth is frustrating and sad.
Apple, here’s my plea. if your software and tech are as innovative and useful as you say they are, prove it. Don’t slow the potential of entire technology because you’re afraid it will cannibalize your software. Come on Apple, you can do better.