Apple includes NFC in MagSafe accessories for new iPhones

Apple iphone 12 showing NFC MagSafe features
WIRELESS: the New MagSafe accessories use NFC to communicate their ID to the iPhone 12

Apple is introducing a new line of accessories under the MagSafe brand name that use NFC to communicate the identity of an accessory attached to an iPhone.

“MagSafe is an advanced new system,” Deniz Teoman, vice president of hardware systems engineering at Apple, explained during the phonemaker’s iPhone 12 launch event on 13 October.

“It starts by improving the wireless charging experience. Our wound wire coil, which is unique in the industry, now accommodates magnets and maintains compatibility with existing Qi chargers.

“The magnets are optimised for alignment and efficiency, and we improved our shielding design to safely provide up to 15 watts for faster charging. We use a custom nanocrystalline shield to capture magnetic flux.

“We also added two new sensors, a single-turn coil NFC and a sensitive magnetometer, which senses magnetic field strength and can instantly react.

“This enables iPhone 12 to recognise and provide a better experience for accessories. Any MagSafe accessory can simply snap onto the back of iPhone. This is really great, we’re enabling a whole new ecosystem for MagSafe, starting with all new cases for iPhone 12.”

“You can use other MagSafe accessories on top of the cases, like the MagSafe charger. And there’s a MagSafe wallet. It just snaps to the back of iPhone and also works on top of MagSafe cases,” he added.

“These are just the accessories we are introducing. Belkin is already working on a couple of new accessories — a car mount and a multi-charger dock. We can’t wait to see the innovative ways that others will use MagSafe, creating a robust and ever-expanding ecosystem.”

Teoman’s presentation of the new Accessory Identification function starts at 35:35 in the recording of the live event. Apple’s introductory MagSafe accessory range can be viewed here.

In 2016 Google introduced ‘live’ cases that used embedded NFC tags to identify themselves to Nexus phones, allowing the device to match the homescreen image to the design printed on the phone case.

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