iPhone 6 PCB with NFC vs iPhone 5s PCB (NowhereElse 001)

Combing through our archive of posts mentioning “iPhone” and “NFC” is all it takes to realize that talk of Apple allegedly adopting NFC is intensifying, not dying down. In fact, rumors calling for NFC-enabled iPhones date as far back as 2011!

Thus far, however, the iconic smartphone has not picked up support for NFC technology, which is an acronym for Near Field Communication. On the other hand, Apple has numerous NFC-related patents.

Additionally, it doesn’t really hurt to mention that a growing number of high-end Android handsets include NFC as part of their standard feature set. Well, today a claimed image has surfaced apparently picturing an iPhone 6 printed circuit board with what appears to be an embedded NFC chip…

Shared by the French blog Nowhereelse.fr [Google translate] which obtained them from one of its Chinese sources, a series of photographs show the purported logic board said to belong to a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model.

In addition to the expected  components such as three times faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, there seems to be an NFC chip in there. The publication’s well-informed source has stated that the iPhone 6, internally referred to as N61, has unspecified NFC capabilities.

Despite the obvious similarities between the supposed iPhone 6 logic board and the iPhone 5s motherboard, the former’s layout appears slightly redesigned with screw holes matching up perfectly with those spotted in recent leaks of iPhone 6 rear shell parts.

iPhone 6 PCB with NFC (NowhereElse 003)

MacRumors editor Eric Slivka took it upon himself to visualize just how this circuit board compares to the existing iPhone 5s part. In addition to a much longer part extending across what would be the top of a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model, the components pictured on the images indicate the part could be genuine (though it’s hard to tell for sure).

iPhone 6 PCB with NFC (MacRumors 001)

Slivka explains:

With the photos showing only the bare printed board and no chips or other components installed, it is difficult to tell much new information from the part, although the locations of some components can be identified based on their similarities to other iPhone logic boards.

NFC is commonly used for contactless transactions and data exchange.

Android, for instance, uses NFC to pair devices securely before establishing an ad-hoc Wi-Fi Direct session between them. This is called Android Beam and select Samsung devices come with the company’ own implementation, dubbed S-Beam, which only works across Galaxy devices.

It’s fairly safe to speculate that Apple doesn’t need NFC for wireless file sharing – AirDrop gets the job done over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Mobile payments? It’s been suggested before that Apple’s own mobile payment solution would pass on NFC due to security concerns – marketing boss Phil Schiller famously said that it wasn’t clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem.

Apple’s many patents may offer some additional clues in the form of NFC-powered digital media gifting between iOS devices, wireless data exchange over NFC, proximity-based data transfers, the connected home (see below) and, yes, the mythical iWallet.

Apple patent connected hone (AppleInsider 001)

Another possibility: as NFC exchanges are possible between an idle NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip (often called a “tag”), maybe Apple is looking to enhance iBeacons with NFC support?

Let’s also mention that AuthenTec, a smart sensor maker Apple bought to build Touch ID, used to build NFC chips for clients.

With so many conflicting rumors pertaining to NFC-enabled iPhones having been swirling for years now, you’re advised not to get ahead of yourself predicting what this claimed circuit board leak may or may not indicate in terms of rumored iPhone 6 features.

Coincidentally or not, VentureBeat (not the most reliable of sources) earlier this week said that the iPhone 6 packs in an NFC chip, wireless charging, a better 4G antenna and “a much bigger screen”, among several other highly-anticipated features.

One thing’s for sure: Fall can’t come soon enough.

  • John Wickham

    So what if we see new MacBooks (that we didn’t see at WWDC) this fall with new iDevices – all with NFC that powers Handoff and Continuity better than Bluetooth and/or AdHoc Wi-Fi! Would also be great for the SDK’s Multipeer Connectivity framework.

  • Rook HD

    nice. Mobile payment will only take off if Apple join the game. Very excited!

    • @dongiuj

      It took off in japan 7 years ago.

    • Manuel Molina

      No point. Passbook works just as NFC. Passbook was Apple’s reasoning behind not putting NFC on their devices. It also goes without saying that I don’t see a reason for NFC

      Besides Airdrop and passbook, is there any other reason for it to come out on an iDevice? (That’s a legit question by the way.)

      • Rook HD

        I don’t think you realize the benefit of NFC. With NFC, your phone is basically the credit card. If all major credit card companies support it then it will be a killer feature (Rumor is Apple is working with Visa, etc). Imagine this: instead of swiping your card, you tap your phone on the payment “NFC base”, then you authorize the transaction with your fingerprint, then boom, you’re done. It’s much more secure than swiping your credit card and type in the pin or zipcode.

        Android has this feature, but right now carriers all want their own app, so mobile payment is really a mess right now. But once Apple join the game, all retailers have to unite under 1 single method.

      • DJ_CodeBlue

        this makes a lot of sense actually

      • Christopher

        It automatically invites a lot of viruses and hacking software to the phone, “touch and infect” you can see movies featuring that move, “accidentally touch your phones together and the virus has been transferred!”

      • Manuel Molina

        I do this with passbook though.

  • Eni

    out of topic: ok so i did followed a jeff-s method that he posted months ago to do a fresh backup only with sms, but i lost all my previous purchases, i mean i have to buy every app fom the begining. so i restored the old backup. now how do i do a fresh backup but to keep all my previus purchases?

  • Phil Randle

    Going off that image above where they match the logic board to the iPhone enclosure, after it’s installed there would only be a few more parts which leaves an awful lot of space for battery, starting to think that the leaked battery we saw was fake.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    guess there’s no rush for apple. each year will have something new to the device anyways so if not this year, then the next

  • Ian Leon

    Why is the little hole for the flash round? Will it still have dual LED true tone flash?

  • shar

    apple has always been trying to avoid features that could be compared to their competitors, avoiding big screen and going with taller screen (till now), avoiding more cpu core / ram and going with 64bit, avoiding nfc and going with touchid, avoiding more megapixel etc….
    that’s how they are able to say we are “different” and not be compared head to head,

    at some point apple is bound to run out of different/new features to add to iPhone,
    but it’s way too soon,
    it’s for the exact same reason that I don’t think apple will add NFC, regardless of the rumors.

    your best bet for new features (if anything) would be things that are not being already featured by the competitors, lets see what will be new.

    • dpacemaker

      Good point, you hit on some of the points that others are forgetting or missing. I am not a fan of NFC, I would rather see Passbook get a upgrade that would allow the addition of credit/debit cards that can be scanned and only accessed with password or Touch I.D.

  • Thiago Vaccaro

    This will probably look like a stupid question for many people. But what is the utility of NFC? Apple already has AirDrop…

    • Anmol Malhotra

      They are saying NFC technology could be implemented in next iPhone. They didnt said it will be called NFC , maybe apple will call it AirDrop ( much advanced or something like that )

  • Soylent Green

    NFC is bib or broken at birth, cashless society here we come, why do you want gold or money when you can have NFC? Sheep are lead. Now the blind are leading the blind 🙁

    • N&LH

      If Apple introduces NFC then they should have it for a purpose. Usually they don’t add technology into their devices unless they can do something with it..Personally I don’t think they will introduce NFC because last year they introduced iBeacon which is better than NFC.

      • Soylent Green

        Theres a good keynote around online titled “don’t stand so close to me” which basically shows you how a credit card etc that is paired to NFC cashless transactions with a phone/dongle/other NFC device is easier to remove money from than having the actual credit card/bank acc access etc in your hand! I know apple give free & unlimited access to the .gov criminals & cronies to our data, but giving random hit & run Eastern Europeans ppl more easy
        Ways to empty a bank account is for me a complete invasion of privacy too far

      • N&LH

        right, but you can do the same with iBeacon. I mean you can pay with your phone without your Credit card, etc….The difference between NFC and iBeacon is that you can use iBeacon also for ads, etc…You can do more with iBeacon. For example you walking in the Mall, you well get notification in your phone about discount or something like this.

      • Soylent Green

        For sure bro, its blatant r4pe of the constitution.

  • A’s Network

    Now all Apple has to do is call their NFC Solution something like iBeam and then sue samsung for copyright infringement.

    • RarestName

      Still living in the past, eh?

      • A’s Network

        Yea, I copied and pasted that comment from somewhere. But it still is funny tho

  • mlee19841

    Screw NFC. Bring a better battery

  • Truffol

    What happened to Cook’s pledge to “double down on secrecy” haha

    • Soylent Green

      Dude they quadrupled down with prism for the nsa & consequently gchq & thats only what we know they desperately tried to deny existed, but just keep sending them fingerprints, with the other data they collect I would not be surprised if next the phone will start giving us personalised greetings & inform us we die in ?? Years, total nwo takeover attempt, thank goodness .mil are aware 😉