The NFC technology in the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus is restricted to Apple Pay. At least for now.
As confirmed by an Apple spokesperson to Cult of Mac, the NFC antenna and chip built into Apple’s new smartphones are designed for use only with Apple’s new mobile payment service:
The company declined to comment on future plans for the NFC chip, but unlike Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, you won’t find any Apple marketing materials promoting the addition of NFC as a major feature, as its touted as just a component of ApplePay.
When it was introduced by Apple on the iPhone 5s last year, Touch ID was restricted to the authorization of phone unlocking and purchases at Apple’s digital stores. But last June, it was opened to third-party developers in iOS 8.
It’s likely that a similar path of availability will be taken by the NFC technology in the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Perhaps next year, Apple will also open the technology to third-party developers to be used in applications, such as bootstrapping, gaming, and smartphone automation via NFC tags, other than Apple Pay.
Along with NFC technology, Apple Pay works with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition system and Secure Element chip to enable quick and easy contactless mobile payments in lieu of credit and debit cards.
Apple Pay is compatible with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, which are set for release on Sept. 19, and with the Apple Watch, which is expected to be released early next year. It’s scheduled for launch in October, in partnership with 220,000 stores in the U.S.
See also: Money should be safer than selfies, says PayPal in new ad swiping at Apple Pay security, Apple joins GlobalPlatform secure chip tech association ahead of Apple Pay launch, and Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about privacy in part two of his interview with Charlie Rose.