Our Thoughts on the iPhone 5
Apple's latest iPhone looks like a case of evolution rather than revolution. Sure, the 4-inch Retina display will show off apps and other branded content at their best, while the noise-cancelling technology is a boon for those who like to listen to their music on the plane or the underground.
But in mobile marketing terms, the lack of NFC capabilty is both surprising and disappointing, particularly when now-arch rival Samsung's Galaxy S2, which launched more than 15 months ago, came with NFC built in. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised, however. For all its championing of the mobile lifestyle, Apple hasn't yet seen fit to design a mobile-optimised site...
Whatever, the lack of NFC, or of anything else, won't stop the queues round the block to buy one. But all those companies pushing mobile payments - and let's be honest, there's no shortage of them - must be feeling somewhat short-changed this morning.
Tudor Aw, European head of technology at consultancy firm KPMG, agrees. “Mobile payments have long been touted as the 'next big thing' but, to date, have simply not taken off in any significant way,” Aw says. “It had been hoped that Apple would turn its famous ability to deliver new technology through great user experience to kick-start the widespread adoption of mobile payments by consumers. The interesting question is whether this omission will mean further delay in mobile payments taking off or if it presents an opportunity for its competitors to take a lead in this field.”
But why did Apple opt to ignore NFC in the first place? Forrester Research principal analyst Thomas Husson might have the answer.
“As Forrester stated recently, while the NFC ecosystem is maturing and opening new opportunities beyond contactless payments, it is still the early days,” says Husson. “Apple seems to consider that both the technology and the market are not ready. To be more specific, it means that Apple did not manage yet to put in place the experience it would like to provide via NFC. One of the consequences is that Passbook is for now wholly focused on digital, with no link to the physical.”