iPad Air 2 has hidden NFC, Amazon has a hidden app store, & more—The Friday 5

Amelia Baer
  • Amelia Baer
  • October 24, 2014
iPad Air 2 has hidden NFC, Amazon has a hidden app store, & more—The Friday 5

1. Surprise! The iPad Air 2 includes an NFC chip, just like iPhone 6.

In a teardown of Apple’s latest flagship tablet, iFixit uncovered a surprising inclusion. The iPad Air 2 features an NFC chip on its logic board, the very same component that enables the iPhone 6’s in-store Apple Pay functionality. While Apple has announced that its new Apple Pay mobile purchase processing system works on iPads within iOS apps, assisted by the Touch ID biometric authentication sensor, it doesn’t mention that the iPad includes any NFC functionality whatsoever.

While paying for a pack of gum with a 10-inch tablet might seem counterintuitive, it’s possible that the iPad’s NFC chip is designed with different intentions. While Square and other companies build iPad-centric point-of-sale replacements, it’s possible that Apple Pay could expand beyond generic in-store NFC receivers to include a theoretical iPad register. Apple has provided no guidance on the chip’s intention, but iOS fans and retailers can only begin to speculate

2. Nest expands its home automation portfolio with Revolv

Following up the company’s acquisition of Dropcam earlier this year, Nest announced today’s acquisition of Revolv, makers of an integrated home automation platform. Nest is fast becoming the home automation arm of Google, buying up relevant products and adding to its smarthome portfolio since its acquisition this year. The system is among the most open and flexible on the market, allowing for other smarthome products and services to tap into Revolv’s Android or iOS applications.

As Google and Nest continue to expand their home automation offerings, the move to purchase Revolv reads as a direct assault against Apple’s HomeKit API in iOS 8, which similarly attracts third-party hardware and service interest within a tightly integrated software umbrella. Whatever its immediate intentions, Nest now commands a formidable suite of popular home automation solutions, and perhaps is positioned best among competitors for defining how we interact with our homes in the future.

3. Twitter Digits rethinks the traditional password

Passwords are interesting—to protect users and personal information it needs to be obscure and complex, but not so much to complicate usability. Passwords are also typically tied to a user name and/or email address, which is a major barrier for users that don’t use email. Twitter announced at its developer conference this week that it’s challenging traditional passwords with a replacement called Digits—users log into an app, input their phone number, receive a confirmation code via SMS that serves as the temporary password into the app. Twitter welcomes developers to use this platform to provide their users with a simple and secure way to access apps.

4. Amazon hid an entire app store in their Android app

An app store, within an app, within an app store—in a very Christopher Nolan–esque manner, Amazon inserted its own entire app store into its first-party Amazon app, available for download within Google’s very own Google Play Store. After updating the app earlier this fall to include the ability to purchase items and stream Prime Instant Video, Amazon bolstered its native offering by including new direct app download features. By incorporating the Amazon Appstore into its Android app, the company is able to leverage user data to provide relevant recommendations and retain users within its proprietary app ecosystem. It’s tough to curate an Android software marketplace with more than a million different apps, and Amazon took advantage of its app’s visibility to offer a curated software experience of its own.

5. Apple Pay teaser

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 1.48.59 PM

On Monday, Apple released its 8.1 update to iOS customers, and with it the addition of its new Apple Pay mobile payments platform. The system went live with a number of in-app and in-store partners, including Uber, Target, and Walgreens. Apple Pay allows iPhone 6 users to pay at more than 200,000 in-store NFC terminals across the country, and requires buy-in from card issuers and banks before forms of payment can be added. We took a shiny new iPhone 6 for a spin and explored some retailers who have supported Apple Pay since day one, and we’ll follow up next week with our thoughts and findings. Stay tuned.


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