NFC-iPhone

It seems like every time Apple is about to release a new smartphone, NFC rumors pop up. I’m not sure if some folks just really want the technology to succeed, or think the iPhone needs it to be compatible with various products and services, but the talk has seriously become an annual thing.

And this year is no different. Back in March, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo noted that his supply chain checks signaled that Apple was building NFC chips for its iPhone 6, and earlier this month, Brightwire echo’ed the claim. Today, Morgan Stanley adds its weight to the claim in an investors note…

MacRumors passes along the note:

According to Morgan Stanley, Apple is choosing NFC as the key technology for its mobile payments system, with semiconductor company NXP likely providing the necessary wireless hardware. NXP has an existing relationship with Apple, supplying the M7 motion-sensing chip found in the iPhone 5s.

NXP is well positioned to participate in Apple’s mobile payments ecosystem. The company signed a licensing agreement with a customer in Q4’13, who we believe is Apple, related to its emerging ID business. A recent patent filing by Apple revealed potential use of NFC and secure element, which we think could be embedded. NXP has also accelerated R&D spend to support a new program related to the IP deal, with revenue expected in 2H, lining up well with the launch of iPhone 6. We see this potentially adding $250mn in sales and EPS of $0.25 in 2015.

Apple has in the past avoided using NFC technology in its devices, with SVP Phil Schiller saying back in 2012: “it’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem.” It does, however, hold a number of patents on near field communication, including one involving retail transactions.

A budding mobile payment system would certainly be a reason for Apple to reverse its stance on NFC. Tim Cook has admitted in the past that Apple is very interested in the space, and last week’s Brightwire report claimed the company had already inked a deal with China’s UnionPay service.

The iPhone 6 is expected to launch as early as August, and feature new hardware, a larger display and a number of other improvements.