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Gizmodo takes apart ‘the next iPhone’ — could it have NFC?

Gadget blog Gizmodo has got its hands on what appears to be an early version of the next iPhone, expected to be released later this year.

Gizmodo got hold of the device after it was left in a bar in Redwood City and a legal letter sent by Apple on Monday would appear to confirm that the iPhone which has fallen into Gizmodo’s hands is a genuine Apple device.

Now, apart from the main logic board which is “encased in metal all around”, Gizmodo has taken apart the phone to see what’s inside — and, from the pictures the blog has taken, there are no obvious signs that the device has built-in NFC.

That said, in June 2009 a patent application was published which showed that Apple has developed a method for building an NFC antenna into a touch screen. The ‘touch screen RFID tag reader’ patent application explains that:

The RFID antenna can be placed in the touch sensor panel, such that the touch sensor panel can now additionally function as an RFID transponder. No separate space-consuming RFID antenna is necessary.

Could an embedded secure element and NFC controller be contained within the main logic board, or any of the other components? Please do take a look at the photos on Gizmodo’s website and let us know in the comments if you spot any tell-tale signs that near field communication functionality could be hiding somewhere in this new device…

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4 comments on this article

  1. At this stage I’d be more surprised if the new iPhone didn’t have NFC capability… I think we’re going to see Apple putting it’s weight behind NFC.

    1. Certainly. All the signs are that the folks in Cupertino are very engaged with NFC. The question is, though, is it coming this June, next June, or sometime later?

  2. IMHO, apple priority is design and proven technology. Latest and greatest were never really Apple – compare the iPhone to compeating products at the time of release. Technology is to say the least modest in the iPhones. My guess is no NFC in this years iPhone.

  3. This talk of Apple not being an early adopter (or developer) of technology is ridiculous. There’s a list a mile long of Apple industry firsts: the mouse, USB, multi-touch screens, and WiFi, to name a few. The difficulty is that Apple is about form first and features second, so when there’s a technology like NFC that is competing for real estate in the iPhone, it is probably not going to happen. NFC can’t elegantly be integrated into cellular or 2.4 GHz wireless silicon, but there are other avenues. The NFC marketers and technology developers just need to get more clever about the packaging of their solutions.

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