The EU is considering new rules that are likely to require Apple to give third parties access to the NFC chip in iPhones. The new laws would prevent manufacturers of mobile devices from restricting access to near-field communication technology built into smartphones and other devices such as smartwatches, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News. Since the launch of NFC on the iPhone in 2014, Apple has limited the chip to its own Apple Pay service
Natalia Drozdiak and Alexander Weber for Bloomberg:
NFC technology handles wireless signals that allow users to pay via their devices in store terminals, instead of a credit or debit card. While the report did not name Apple, iPhone and Apple Watch users are currently only able to make NFC payments using Apple Pay. Banks and other competitors have complained that they want the same functionality for their own iPhone apps, and that Apple will not give them access to the chip.
The report will be unveiled next week by the European Commission as part of a package of policy proposals. It includes a footnote to a competition case launched by the European Commission’s antitrust arm in June, which seeks to assess whether the iPhone giant is unfairly blocking other providers from using the push-and-go functionality on smartphones.
“In parallel with the ongoing and future enforcement of the competition, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at ensuring the right of access, under fair, equitable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructure deemed necessary to support payment services, ”says the EU in the document.
MacDailyNews Take: The EU should not try to force Apple to open full access to the iPhone’s NFC chip. Protecting the security and privacy of iOS users is important.