Apple iPhone NFC: Once formally announced, it’s game over for the rest of the industry

Is there nothing that the iMachine cannot conquer?


Not when you’ve got almost every analyst, every journalist, every blogger, every outlet of significant influence drinking the Apple Koolaid.

That’s not to say that Apple’s ‘Koolaid’ is wrong. One stroll along University Avenue in Palo Alto demonstrates that the mobile industry is — from the perspective of the Western marketplace — entirely owned by Apple, Apple and thrice Apple. Oh, and HTC/Samsung/LG/etc. And BlackBerry.

The focus is almost totally ‘i’, with Android snapping along behind.

Remember, Android is behind Apple. Just in case you needed a reminder. Yes there are more Android devices being activated in America than iPhones, but that’s just heathen talk. It’s because of Verizon. Right? That’s been corrected now. So pay proper attention to the flawed logic please and stop asking inconvenient questions that are obviously wrong.

Stay with me.

Those who fold their arms, stamp their feet and scream, ‘but Nokia sold almost half a billion handsets last year‘ are failing to grasp the imperial reality and might of the opinion machine.

Apple owns the opinion machine at the moment. Indeed, in recent months we can see that the opinion machine — a kind of wisdom-of-the-crowds style movement fanned by some very, very smart public relations and marketing chaps — has begun to target BlackBerry.

BlackBerry, the wisdom goes, is the ‘next Nokia’. And Nokia? The opinion machine has spoken. Nokia is no more. And, er, the 110-million or so handsets shipped last quarter, just… they … move along. And the fact BlackBerry is the number one smartphone in a gazillion markets? I told you. Stop asking questions.

Abroad doesn’t matter.

In the world of the opinion machine, it’s all about ‘AmericaUK’, where the iPhone rules.

Despite my often epic rants about the ‘Fisher Price iPhone‘, I do own a whole host of iPhone and Apple products. indeed I’m typing this on a Mac Pro Tower and 2x 27″ monitors. I am an Apple fan.

So having said all this, let me get to the key point of today’s post: NFC.

One of the mobile industry’s Next Big Things is definitely NFC payments. The fabled ability to swipe your iPhone at Starbucks. Take note though — paying via an application isn’t any good. It’s all about swiping. This is the bee-in-the-bonet of the mobile industry, especially amongst the opinion machine faithful.

I’ve written before that once Apple integrates NFC into their devices, it will be game over for every other provider in the marketplace. Of course, there’s a good few billion customers out there who, in the short and medium term, will never be able to afford an iPhone. Those people are not relevant when it comes to the opinion machine. The rest of the world is irrelevant. America is a massive market and that’s where the opinion machine lives and is focused.

Alas, whatever the opinion machine says resonates across the planet.

This is why you’ve got a considerable amount of people in India wanting an iPhone. It’s why there’s a huge waiting list for iPhones amongst China’s wealthy middle class. Everybody wants a piece of the Apple joy. It’s cool. The device is cool. The company is cool. America is cool. Yes please.

Are you in need of a reminder just how ‘huge’ Apple NFC will be? You need to check out Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry’s piece in Business Insider (“HUGE: You’ll FINALLY Be Able To Use Your iPhone 5 and iPad 2 As Wallets” — the caps emphasis is from the publication — and yes they did, seriously, prefix the headline with the word, “HUGE”).

The true power for Apple is the ability to exploit and manipulate this influence. For influence, you might read ‘reality distortion field’ — but only if you’re feeling cynical.

The moment Apple formally announce NFC on-stage — and demonstrate the awe-inspiring amazingness that comes with the new improved iPhone 5, the market will be hankering for it.

Everyone with an old iPhone will all of a sudden feel… outta-date.

“What do you mean you can’t pay for your Starbucks with your iPhone 4? How rubbish!”

It looks like some kind of Apple iPhone NFC service is firmly en route now though. The speculation can end. Sort of. You see Bloomberg today reports that some chap by the name of Richard Doherty of consulting firm Envisioneering Group has had conversations with engineers ‘working on hardware for the Apple project.’

One can only assume that Apple have authorised this commentary. It’s that or the chap would already have been silenced by a dozen lawsuits. Apple has sensibly declined to comment to let the opinion machine continue it’s good work.

You can almost see the desperation dripping from the team over at MasterCard. Here’s a quote included in the Bloomberg piece regarding Apple NFC:

Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard, said the company is “running the world’s fastest payment network, and that doesn’t need to be re-created.” MasterCard sees NFC “as an opportunity to partner with organizations” and already has run NFC payment trials around the world.

Alas, MasterCard, it’s not your game any more. It’s Apple’s game. I’d imagine MasterCard will get a look-in as a payments processor for iTunes provided you don’t do anything to upset the Apple cart. 😉

This quote is an excellent indication of the irrelevance of everybody else as far as the opinion machine is concerned.

Apple NFC — if actually launched — will become the standard in America overnight.

I’m so impressed.

When others have failed — or simply just held trials — Apple conquers.

You can see it working, can’t you?

An on-stage demonstration. An amazed audience of technology geeks with mouths open in ecstasy, cheering while the Apple spokesperson struggling to explain over the applause that the service will roll-out next quarter.

Everyone else in the marketplace who’s been playing with NFC should get ready to occupy the position of also-ran, even if they’ve been working on the technology for years.

Oh it’s going to be interesting, very interesting indeed.

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