Apple has been spending time, money, and effort on the concept of Near Field Communications (NFC). They have hired experts in the field, including at least one top-level NFC player, as well as fining several patent applications, and are said to be very interested in the technology, which is basically a short-range wireless connection technology that would turn the iPhone into an electronic wallet or security passkey. Such systems are already in use in parts of Asia, making all sorts of payments from cell phones rather than the traditional debit or credit card. Apple is known to be working on the technology for use in the United States.
Now, though, a Cult of Mac article explores a rumor that NFC could also be used on the iPhone to allow remote computing, and says that it may be here as soon as the iPhone 5. This means that Apple is also interested in a scenario in which a computer user could wave his or her iPhone at their computer, which would also need to be NFC-equipped, in order to control it remotely. Of course, the two devices would need to be very close to each other, but NFC would allow the mobile device to load all the settings from the larger computer and then to remotely control it, just as if the iPhone (or iPad) user were sitting at the computer’s keyboard and mouse. Here are some quotes from the source of the rumor:
The Mac authenticates with the iPhone, which contains a lot of the information the computer needs, such as bookmarks, passwords and other data. The system would essentially turn any Apple computer into your own — like you’re actually working on your own computer. Same settings, look, bookmarks, preferences. It would all be invisible. Your iPhone would be all you needed to unlock your Mac.
Address book would show their contacts, and the user would have full access to their information in the same manner they would if they were working from home. This same behavior extends to even showing the same desktop picture, mouse and keyboard settings, and would eventually extend to software licenses and passwords for websites such as Facebook.
When a person walks away with their iPhone and away from the communication link with the Mac, the original settings of the Mac would be restored. All communications and storage of passwords stays on the user’s iPhone, leaving nothing stored on the computer.
None of this is very solid. NFC technology may never be used for remote control computing. But it could be, and therein lies the beauty of rumors.