RFID technology has come a long way in the past few years. Chips are now individually very cheap, and thousands of uses for them have been devised by corporations and governments. Now it seems that Apple is looking to help make RFIDs something consumers make use of every day by adding a reader into the new iPhone. AppleInsider says that a site focusing on Near Field Communications has found evidence that Apple has built new iPhone prototypes that pack an RFID reader.
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An iPhone-mounted RFID reader could have a wide variety of uses. It could allow “touchless” payments at vending machines, stores and toll booths, as well as enable a variety of AR technologies. RFID chips can also act as barcodes, which would make browsing for deals and 'at a glance' window shopping much easier for people with iPhones. Since many products and services are already embedded with RFID chips, we could see this functionality appear in the very near future.
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This news also reinforces information received last week about parts for a new iPhone 4G seen in a wholesalers online shop. Evidence is starting to stack up that a new iPhone is in the works now. If it's at the prototype stage already, we could be looking at a pattern-breaking release for Apple. Perhaps the recent launch of several high-end, critically lauded Android smartphones has necessitated an early release?