iPhone 5: Android Has Embraced What Apple Has Missed

iPhone 5: Android Has Embraced What Apple Has MissedMillions of consumers would never give up their iPhones. In fact, they are willing to pay a premium to own one. However, I believe that while the company’s products are the mainstay of many consumers, Apple is not infallible and, on occasion, makes a blunder or two.

I support that statement by reminding everyone of the famous ‘antennagate’ charade, which was an iPhone problem that Apple tried to blame on the user not holding the phone correctly. Question: Had users never held a phone before?

With that being a past issue, let’s move on to the next possible hardware problem for the company. I am calling this issue ‘purplegate’ (I made that up), in an attempt to explain a purple halo that, according to some reviewers, is showing up in some of their pictures. However, the biggest blunder may prove to be Apple’s complete and total disregard for NFC.

NFC (Near Field Communication) has become a standard that allows devices to exchange information by merely touching the NFC-enabled devices together. If you haven’t seen this in action, keep your ear attuned to the TV and the recently released Samsung commercial that shows a group representing the Apple crowd, standing in awe as two Samsung users touch phones and exchange contacts. One of the Apple crowd then makes a statement that they hope that their new iPhone 5 will offer this feature. Sorry, folks, the iPhone 5 doesn’t.

So why is NFC so important, with major smartphone makers like HTC, Nokia, and Samsung supporting it while Apple ignores it? According to statements by smartphone manufacturers, Android companies are hoping that the new NFC technology will be picked up by major credit card companies so that the smartphone devices can be enabled to act as a mobile wallet. In addition, hopes are that NFC could eventually be used to digitally store boarding pass information or manage a repository of store coupons.

Additionally, it seems that Google has included NFC in its Google Nexus 7, which contains two-way communication between enabled NFC devices. This two-way communication is what distinguishes NFC from radio-frequency (RF) chips that offer only one-way communication. For the security-conscious around us, it is also nice to note that NFC offers a more secure authentication process than the single communication device that is found on employee badges for access to sensitive areas. In fact, NFC provides an extra layer of security even when the identification comes from a smartphone rather than a badge. It is also cost-effective in that the security authorization can easily be changed on a smartphone, whereas with a badge, the entire badge needs replacing.

However, even though this technology is not being used by Apple, Apple has not completely left the user outside in the cold when it comes to short-ranged communications. What Apple has done is expand its Bluetooth capabilities in iOS 6. With this expansion of Bluetooth 4.0, the user will find support for a low-energy version of wireless technology. Though not as fast as NFC, it does work for close range use.

However, the biggest challenges faced by both Android and Apple will be to get businesses and retailers to develop applications for the new technology. In addition, the retailers will need to buy new readers and other equipment to take full advantage of either technology.

One must also note that Apple is quick on the intake and could possibly, in the near future, find a developer who will develop an application that could make the Bluetooth capabilities in iOS 6 compatible with NFC.

Whichever way you go, it is mind-boggling to see the technological possibilities that were merely science fiction just a few years ago.

Comments welcome.

Source: Scientific American

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by ubiqua