Paris, February 23, 2010.
U.S Patent & Trade published last week an Apple patent application related to various methods, devices and systems employing motion-based inputs that may be used to open a lock or rotate a document by transmitting these values from a device (an iPhone, for instance) to another one (a MacBook, for instance). These values are transmitted through a NFC (Near Field Communication) channel, or through additionnal associated connectivity channels (LAN, WAN or PAN interface using different technologies and protocols such as IEEE 802.11x, 3G, HSDPA, or Bluetooth, ZigBee, and UWB).
This patent is the second one, Apple published explicitly referring to NFC with precise features that mention standards compliance (424 kb/s, ISO 18092 and ISO21481, communication occuring within a range of 2-4 cm, etc.). The previous one was published in last November to present an simplified data transfer application designated as "Grab & Go". Its purpose is to facilitate the transfer (or sync for Mobile Me, for instance) of data between different kind of devices by just tapping them together. In theses cases, NFC may be also used for pairing the devices and initiate a communication through another channel with higher data rates.
The new patent extends this usage of NFC to access control applications (physical and logical). â€œThe one interesting twist that Apple reveals is how the iPhone with NFC could be used as a work pass-key to enter your office, building or department â€“ and eventually how this concept could expand to open your home or apartment door, car door and in theory, a hotel room door and so forth.â€œ writes the excellent Patenly Appleâ€˜s blog (http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/). Three new native iPhone icons (Lock, Dice and External control) are then featured on the iPhone screen, while the NFC status is set up on the left top of the iPhone (above the 3G and Wi-Fi signals).
Now, the question mark remains : when these patents will come to live ? In the next iPhone 4G announced in May or June with a Super Amoled screen of 3.7 inches ? The NFC applications need infrastructure and true ecosystem to be successfully deployed. An Chicken-and-Egg issue that Apple uses to solve by building up first its own Apple ecosystem. So, new NFC iPhones and MacBooks could be announced and launched at the same time. But it could make sense to also ask the question to Assa Abloy (or Kaba group), the worldâ€™s leading lock groupâ€¦ Apple accessories suppliers  are also a key.
Â During the last CARTES show in Paris (last November), Wireless Dynamics Inc. Announces 'iCarte' - the first NFC Reader for iPhones. The 'iCarte' supports a wide range of ISO14443A/B and ISO15693 tags. Apple approval for App store (Payment and a lot of non-payment applications) is pending.
SCT-News : 23/02/2010 - © 2003, OMNIPRESS. All rights reserved.