Doubtless you’ve heard persistent rumors that one of new hardware features that will debut on the iPhone 5S is NFC. Near field Communication is a mainstay of the iPhone rumor mill — one that goes way back (one of the first posts ever on the iPhone 5 News Blog was about NFC, which was posted on August 18th, 2010), but it has always been a means to an end. For the average user, NFC means nothing, aside from the National Football Conference in the United States. And if the iPhone 5S debuts this fall with NFC, Tim Cook won’t spend more than a few seconds talking about “Near field Communication.” Instead, he’ll talk much more about the mobile solution it powers — namely, something like a vastly expanded Passbook and/or iWallet.
With all this in mind, if NFC and the fingerprint scanner are indeed on their way for the iPhone 5S, what’s the point? To what end will these costly and invasive hardware additions bring to the overall user experience?
I was impressed with an article that appeared on Buzzfeed the other day, entitled, “Nobody Has Tried The Real iOS 7.” That’s a very good point — and very germane to this article. Writer John Herrman makes the point that:
iOS 7 beta testers have experienced, at best, a framework — they’ve been given a preview. They’ve used a new homescreen, a new lockscreen, a new app switcher, a new mail app, a new texting app and a new browser. Those pieces account for a small part of how people actually use their phones . . . Using iOS 7 today is like using iOS 6 with a skin.