When Apple unveiled Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor that verifies your identity to unlock your phone and confirm purchases and app installs, developers clamored for Apple to open up the feature to third parties. Now that Apple has baked NFC technology into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, developers want access. But for now, like Touch ID was tied to specific functions in the 5s, NFC is tied to Apple Pay alone.
An Apple spokesperson told Cult of Mac that the new phones’ NFC chip will only work with Apple’s new payment system, at least for the next year. It’s unclear whether Apple will eventually allow developers to adopt the chip for their own purposes with future iPhone releases, like the company did with Touch ID in iOS 8, or keep the chip locked to Apple Pay.
While there are plenty of innovative use cases for Touch ID, the third-party possibilities for NFC-equipped iPhones are even more exciting—it’s no wonder developers are chomping at the bit for access.
But Apple keeps its sensitive features locked down in their infancy, a move that makes sense for NFC given Apple Pay’s access to your most important information: the financial variety. Presumably the year-long lockdown will give Apple time to work out any security kinks. PayPal, which stands to lose customers if Apple Pay succeeds, took aim at Apple’s recent security snafu in a full-page New York Times ad on Monday. The company also tweeted the ad.
PayPal isn’t the only voice of concern about Apple Pay’s security features, though it’s obviously one of the more self-interested voices. Plenty of jokes have been cracked about how Apple plans to safeguard your credit card information when your nude selfies are free for the taking. Apple has emphasized the payment platform’s security, noting that your financial information won’t be stored in the cloud and will be encrypted on your device. You’ll also have to verify your identity with Touch ID when using Apple Pay, which adds another layer of security.
PayPal could work with Apple Pay, but in an apparent snub, Apple left the company off its list of preferred partners. PayPal is clearly not taking it well.