NFC World is reporting that Apple earlier in the week joined the NFC Forum, a non-profit industry association that promotes implementation and standardization of the Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology in order to ensure interoperability between devices and services.
NFC, as you know, is at the heart of Apple Pay and other contactless payment systems and has been used on Android devices for easier sharing of content directly between devices.
The iPhone maker joined the organization as a top-tier sponsor and also has a seat on NFC Forum’s Board of Directors, meaning it’s now in a position to significantly influence the development of the NFC standard.
“We are delighted to welcome Apple to our board of directors as an NFC Forum sponsor member,” wrote the organization on its website. Apple is represented on the NFC Forum’s Board of Directors by Aon Mujtaba.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mujtaba is a Director of Apple’s Wireless Systems Engineering team for the iPhone. A quick search reveals he’s been credited with multiple wireless patents owned by Apple.
Chip makers Broadcom, Intel, Qualcomm, STMicroelectronics and NXP Semiconductors (which supplies Apple with motion coprocessors and NFC chips for iOS devices) all have a seat on the board, as do search giant Google, former handset maker Nokia, consumer electronics giant Samsung and credit card companies Visa and MasterCard.
As a top-tier member, Apple will have a say in future NFC standard development.
“The top tier of NFC Forum membership, sponsor membership, entitles an organization to a seat on the NFC Forum board of directors, the association’s governing body,” NFC Forum director Paula Hunter says.
The organization’s mission is to “advance the use of Near-Field Communication technology by developing specifications, ensuring interoperability among devices and services and educating the market about NFC technology.”
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are Apple’s very first devices that incorporate NFC circuitry for contactless payments, followed by the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 which have a version of Apple Pay with the in-store NFC functionality removed.
The Apple Watch, which made its debut in April of 2015, also comes with NFC for Apple Pay compatibility.