Apple’s annual developer conference, WWDC, begins on June 4, and with it comes the unveiling of some of the features in iOS 12. According to The Information, one of these will be an expansion of the iPhone’s NFC capabilities beyond Apple Pay, allowing the handset to act as hotel room door key and as a virtual transit card.
The publication writes that with iOS 12, Apple will give some developers full access to the iPhone’s NFC chip, which was added to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for communicating with POS devices. Non-Apple apps were given limited access to the chip with iOS 11, but the restrictions are being lifted in the next version of the operating system.
In addition to opening hotel rooms with a simple tap on the iPhone’s screen, users will also be able to use the handset's NFC capabilities to open the doors of their home and cars. Apple employees already have access to the features and have been using their iPhones to enter offices and buildings at Cupertino headquarters, thanks to a partnership with HID Global, which developed the site’s security systems.
Some hotels already allow guests to use their iPhones as door keys, though this is done via Bluetooth, which is considered less secure than NFC.
Another feature of the NFC update will be the ability to use an iPhone as a virtual transit card. Apple has reportedly been in talks with Cubic about adding the function for years. There are already some locations where you can pay for public transit services using an iPhone or Apple Watch that works with Apple Pay, including some cities in China, Russia, and the US, as well as London and Japan. The update looks set to open this function up to all owners of the iPhone 6 and newer.
We’ll find out more about the new NFC capabilities and other iOS 12 features at Apple’s conference in just over one week’s time.