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back to article Apple tech FOUND ON ANDROID: Passbook gets pay-by-bonk

While Apple and its Android rivals fight like cat and dog over smartphones, one piece of mobile technology from the iPhone maker has wound up on Google-powered devices. Apple's Passbook app can store money-off vouchers, gift tokens, flight boarding passes and such paperwork, and flashes barcode-ish QR codes on iThing screens …

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Lasers

Another technology looking for a problem, and similarly GPS has found it's way into lots of applications, far more than the original military use.

I personally don't trust NFC but I'm sure it will mature.

ttfn

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I really wish...

...that I could use my NFC phone as my Oyster card. I suspect a lot of other folks do too. Oh in the grand scheme of things it wouldn't make a world of difference but it'd certainly save plastic and whatever metals are used to make the NFC chip in the Oyster card.

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Holmes

Re: I really wish...

You can always tape your oyster card on the back of your phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I really wish...

I don't want to be waving my £400 phone around crowded ticket barriers in Camden and an Oyster card is quicker to get out of my pocket.

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Re: I really wish...

TFL have supposedly looked at it but found the current NFC standard to be too slow compared to the oyster card.

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Anonymous Coward

Having to physically bonk phones into stuff seems so outdated in 2013.

Despite what the pundits say I would hope Apple never implements it and uses Bluetooth, location/time like Square/Bump or a combination of the two.

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>Having to physically bonk phones into stuff seems so outdated in 2013.

The advantage of 'payment by bonk' as el reg call it (NFC everywhere else) is that the close proximity required for it to work, rather than Bluetooth which could be several meters or more away.

If I was paying for something, or accessing pre-paid for service, then I would much rather it be via NFC than Bluetooth.

e.g Imagine trying to validate you tube ride (oyster style) will hundreds of other people all with Bluetooth on at the same time. Or scenarios where others could pickup your Bluetooth enabled app more deviously.

As others have suggested use a finger print etc, but then I suppose you don't need the phone at all, just give them the finger (as the Reg might put it?)

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Devil

Despite what the pundits say I would hope Apple never implements it and uses Bluetooth, location/time like Square/Bump or a combination of the two.

Wash your mouth out with soap johnlongdick!

Almost whatever the question, the answer isn't Bluetooth! I'm happy to agree that it's occasionally really useful, but only if you'll agree that it's sometimes incredibly buggy, annoying and frustrating.

I've not had enough experience of NFC to have an opinion on it. But if it's as shoddy as Bluetooth sometimes is, then I'm sticking to cold, hard cash. As Roosta said, "If you can't scratch a window with it, I don't accept it." Just before some new-fangled payment technology landed him up in a really sticky situation...

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Re: >Having to physically bonk phones into stuff seems so outdated in 2013.

NFC has many more uses other than payments, particularly when used with NFC tags. You can use it to automate processes such as turning on your wifi when you step into your house or office, upload contact data or web links with NFC enabled business cards, initiate wifi downloads or transfers between phones (what Samsung label as S-beam) to name a few. Bluetooth can't do a fraction of that.

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Silver badge

Re: >Having to physically bonk phones into stuff seems so outdated in 2013. (Re: MikeS)

That's an advantage; I think the greater advantage if you asked most non-technical people is the user interface. To use an Oyster card or pay by an NFC-enabled debit card I just touch the thing against the sensor. In one fell swoop that identifies that I'm the person making the transaction and that I explicitly wish to proceed.

With anything that deliberately cuts out that need to put the one thing next to the other you have to start layering on apps and menus and so on. Then it stops being something that 90% of consumers would use themselves, let along something they're happy about when the rush hour becomes even more congested as people stand around launching their applications to get into the tube.

And that's quite apart from the fact that a properly-implemented NFC solution could work regardless of whether the phone is charged.

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Anonymous Coward

I also do not like the idea of just being able to pay by bonk (sounds bit immoral just saying it) ;))

Think I would rather have a finger swipe or passcode on my phone to confirm it at least. Oh yes Apple recently bought a finger swipe security firm...

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Silver badge

Agreed

I always wished there were some kind of banking ap on the phone for use with PBB, Run the ap, load the card you want to pay with, bonk to start the transaction, enter pin code. Get informed how much you have left on your limit / account, asked to authorise etc.

No more need for money / numerous cards. Just your phone and a list of pin numbers.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Agreed

"enter pin code"

But if NFC only works while your phone is unlocked*, why enter another PIN?

* I don't know that it does, but it should.

(Paris: bonk)

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Re: Agreed

Depending on implementation, NFC can work when your phone is off with a drained battery, not just when it's unlocked.

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Bronze badge

think bigger

NFC is more than pay by bonk.

Look at Sony Smart Tags. Program your phone to do all sorts of things when it comes into contact with one. Turn bluetooth on or off, mute the ringer, turn an alarm on...

How about having a NFC reader in your car? Put your phone on it, bluetooth comes on and pairs with the car, and the car recognises you as the driver and sets your mirrors, seat etc to your preferences.

Get to work, quick wave and the phone mutes, vibrate is on

Use it to pay for stuff? Security? no thanks... but to switch phone settings depending on location, yes please.

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Re: think bigger

That's not thinking bigger.

My phone already does all of that using profiles and location or wifi based triggers.

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Thumb Down

Re: think bigger

> How about having a NFC reader in your car? Put your phone on it, bluetooth comes on and pairs with the car,

Mine does that already, without NFC.

> and the car recognises you as the driver and sets your mirrors, seat etc to your preferences.

My car recognises which key it was opened with (mine or Mrs O'Sophical's) and sets mirrors and set to match.

No need for yet another technology to do what we can do well today already.

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Re: think bigger

Sony have been doing some pretty awesome stuff with NFC to be fair, from the Smart Tags mentioned above to connecting with Bluetooth Speakers, and now, Bravia Tellies. "Bonk" the phone against the TV, Phone screen appears on TV as if by magic.

I'm expecting this to appear on Samsung tellies too, for no apparent reason whatsoever.......

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Rob
Bronze badge

Re: think bigger

Samsung's high end SMART range have this already. Who did it first I don't know.

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It's about time Apple actually invented something themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

doh but they have haven't they , I seem to remember they invented and patented the rectangle didn't they?

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iWatch

Perhaps the iWatch that we have been hearing about could simplify the process. Digging around in my pocket to get my phone out is not much less hassle than getting my wallet out. A watch, nicely synced to the phone that never leaves my pocket is much easier to swipe, almost no effort at all in fact. Would be one good use for such an 'extension device' like this rumored watch.

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Gold badge

So far Apple have been proved right. NFC hasn't taken off yet, and it's already February. If they bring out their next iPhone in September, they can just stick NFC in that, and be instantly up-to-date. Of course people with iPhone 5s won't be able to join in the fun. But I'm sure Apple will say there's a solution for that chaps, wanna buy a lovely new iPhone?

That's assuming that NFC is even ready to take off in 2014 (which I'm not totally convinced of). But as Apple have this Passbook thingy, they may as well have the tech to fully use it (as the chips cost so little).

Then again, do we even have an NFC standard with decent levels of agreement yet? Or are there still a whole bunch of competing ones, all with their own supporters? I doubt Apple will move until the industry have got their act together, unless there's one particular standard they want to push. I have to confess I've read so many stories about competing NFC standards and how it's going to be big this year, I've given up reading about it. I'm sure it'll get there eventually, but it reminds me of the interminable introduction of Bluetooth, which was supposed to be coming real-soon-now in the mid 90s, and didn't really become mainstream for a decade. And even now, another 10 years later, it's not the most reliable of technologies.

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NFC has been standardised (ISO / IEC) for since 2003 and NFC has been used around the world for many years with largescale rollouts since 2011. There is still a long way to go, but it is moving along at a fair pace

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Gold badge

I'm sure there's a standard for the radio side. I was talking about the phone implementation. The carriers wanted to use the SIM for the encryption keys, so they could charge for it, or better, become transaction agents and take a nice percentage. The phone manufacturers wanted in on the action too, with hardware security they controlled. But Google also want in on the act, to do it in the OS. I don't recall who the banks sided with.

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Bronze badge

technology looking for a problem

NFC isn't a technology looking for a problem, it has loads of uses. Pay by bonk from a phone is not one of them.

The main use for NFC is to initiate pairing with other devices. This link can then be used to play music over wireless speakers, transfer files between phones or anything else you can think of.

People need to stop pursuing the pay by bonk concept, it's not convenient to have to

1. Unlock your phone

2. Open your pay by bonk app

3. enter a pin for the pay by bonk app

4. choose the virtual card you wish to pay by

all to make a "quick" payment, imagine trying to do that at the M6 toll booth with a queue of cars behind you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: technology looking for a problem

Ignoring the fact it's in fact illegal to operate a phone in a car with your hands in the UK with the engine running, so you can't do it anyway.... paid by bonk? Have a fine too!

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Anonymous Coward

In other short

Android can do NFC and Passbook.

Apple can only do passbook.

But then there a vast array of things the iPhone still can't manage,

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I phone starting to look dated?

It was dated when it came out.. Didn't bother the fans back then and it won't bother them in the future.

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Download links

If anyone's interested in trying out the apps; PassWallet (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.attidomobile.passwallet) & codeREADr (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skycore.android.codereadr).

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