NFC: Near Field Communications

  • Posted: 16 November 2010 09:10 AM

    Google?s new Android phone aims to replace credit cards

    Google’s Eric Schmidt has announced a new Android mobile phone that will power mobile payments


    Eric Schmidt, Google?s chief executive, showed off the company?s next Android-powered phone, which will contain a chip that will allow people to make payments via their handsets.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8136067/Googles-new-Android-phone-aims-to-replace-credit-cards.html

    And so the first public shot in the battle for Near Field Communications is fired.

    Apple has long been rumored to be developing this technology. Google announces first. And it looks like they will deliver first. Apple tends not to announce a product until the product is ready to be delivered. Since NFC requires a new chip, we can’t reasonably expect Apple to deliver NFC until this summer when they introduce the next version of the iPhone.

    NFC could be “the next big thing”. In addition to making credit card style payments, it can be used for many other uses, many of which haven’t even been thought of yet. One advantage Apple usually has is that their implementation of a new technology is surprisingly easy and seamless. Whether that matters or whether ubiquity is what matters most, I don’t know. Whatever the case, I have a feeling we’ll be spending a lot of our time talking about NFC over the next year or so.

         
  • Posted: 16 November 2010 02:04 PM #1

    I agree. I also don’t know if there will be a significant first mover advantage or not.  T-Mobile, ATT, Verizon, Discover briefed Isis today.  Will Android use this or there own home-grown recipe.  Since it appears Apple will not be the first to have this technology (among the big smartphone OSes that is.  I am aware this is available elsewhere) it is my personal belief that Apple will have a tough time pushing any home-grown edition of its own unless they have a trump card. Perhaps with Mastercard and Visa?

         
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    Posted: 16 November 2010 03:55 PM #2

    FalKirk - 16 November 2010 01:10 PM

    ... One advantage Apple usually has is that their implementation of a new technology is surprisingly easy and seamless ...

    First mover advantage vs this Apple strategy makes a good business study.  May be this is the wrong way of looking at it.  Apple introduces technology only when consumers are ready.

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  • Posted: 17 November 2010 12:07 AM #3

    Mace - 16 November 2010 07:55 PM
    FalKirk - 16 November 2010 01:10 PM

    ... One advantage Apple usually has is that their implementation of a new technology is surprisingly easy and seamless ...

    First mover advantage vs this Apple strategy makes a good business study.  May be this is the wrong way of looking at it.  Apple introduces technology only when consumers are ready.

    I may not be fully understanding your point. I’d say the consumer is more than ready. I’d say that Apple only introduces technology when the technology is ready.

    Does that make sense? Or did I miss your meaning?

         
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    Posted: 17 November 2010 12:31 AM #4

    Unique - 16 November 2010 07:58 PM

    Japan had this way back in 2006/7, but just a different name.

    US is still playing catch up.

    Sigh look at the US railway/train system, transit system, pathetic.

    Unique, I know this is not with the topic, but I would really like to hear your reasoning for that last comment. We did have a phase of ripping up railway lines several years ago, funny considering things now. I also would like to hear what you are comparing the US to.

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    Posted: 17 November 2010 02:01 AM #5

    FalKirk - 17 November 2010 04:07 AM

    I’d say the consumer is more than ready. I’d say that Apple only introduces technology when the technology is ready.

    I’d augment, “when the technology is ready and available at the right price”. Customers need to be able to see added value in new technology to buy. Maybe this is what Mace meant by “customers are ready”. But there is the other side, of course, which is cost of technology.

    Touch displays existed for decades before the iPhone but were prohibitively expensive. Apple waited for them to be “right” but also cheap enough that, when produced in mass quantity, product scale brings enough value for customers to pay premium for the device.

         
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    Posted: 17 November 2010 02:04 AM #6

    Oh, another related point is choosing technology baskets and feature-packing. It’s an oft-repeated argument that the iPhone, e.g., doesn’t have the “highest megapixel” camera. The geeks go nuts about this, even if only 1% of customers cares. Apple famously repeats (like a mantra) that they’re most proud of what they not ship. Typically this is applied at the product level (e.g. “we won’t make a netbook because they’re POS” - SJ) but could also be applied at feature level.

    NFC is a cool technology and a good feature to include in iPhone 5, 6 or 7.

         
  • Posted: 17 November 2010 10:34 AM #7

    There have been some excellent points made in the previous posts. As I read them, the word “confluence” came to mind although I’m not sure if that’s the exact word I’m looking for. Apple is famous not for inventing markets, but for re-inventing them. They wait for a confluence of technology, price and customer demand. In other words, they strike when the iron is hot. Examples include the iPod, iPhone, iPad and, more recently, FaceTime. FaceTime is unproven, but clearly Apple thinks they can take it from niche to mainstream and they are exerting every effort to make it so.

    At first, Near Field Communications seemed different to me. Instead of re-inventing a market, it is almost like Apple is in the vanguard. But then again, as has been pointed out, Japan has had and used this technology for years. Perhaps it takes the efforts of a company like Apple to, once again, push NFC from niche to mainstream. As usual, Apple does not want to do it first - they want to do it best. We’ll see.

         
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    Posted: 17 November 2010 11:36 AM #8

    FalKirk - 17 November 2010 04:07 AM
    Mace - 16 November 2010 07:55 PM
    FalKirk - 16 November 2010 01:10 PM

    ... One advantage Apple usually has is that their implementation of a new technology is surprisingly easy and seamless ...

    First mover advantage vs this Apple strategy makes a good business study.  May be this is the wrong way of looking at it.  Apple introduces technology only when consumers are ready.

    I may not be fully understanding your point. I’d say the consumer is more than ready. I’d say that Apple only introduces technology when the technology is ready.

    Does that make sense? Or did I miss your meaning?

    Not commenting on your point.  Just wondering what those business schools think about Apple strategy.  An obvious comparison is vs first mover strategy.

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    Posted: 17 November 2010 05:08 PM #9

    Mace - 17 November 2010 03:36 PM

    Not commenting on your point.  Just wondering what those business schools think about Apple strategy.  An obvious comparison is vs first mover strategy.

    Not much from this particular angle, at least I haven’t encountered such an argument or case. I’ll keep looking.

    FK, I like the word confluence. Let’s add it to our vocabulary of Apple’s strategy. :cool:

         
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    Posted: 17 November 2010 05:55 PM #10

    Roman - 17 November 2010 09:08 PM
    Mace - 17 November 2010 03:36 PM

    Not commenting on your point.  Just wondering what those business schools think about Apple strategy.  An obvious comparison is vs first mover strategy.

    Not much from this particular angle, at least I haven’t encountered such an argument or case. I’ll keep looking.

    FK, I like the word confluence. Let’s add it to our vocabulary of Apple’s strategy. :cool:

    SJ has returned to Apple since 1997 and has surprised the market with the launch of the iPod in 2002.  Many business schools, media and analysts follow Apple closely.  Every move by Apple is analyzed.  By now, one would expect Apple business model, business strategy and operational approach are well understood.  Why is it after so many years, competitors are still surprised by Apple e.g. launch of iPad, iPods are still commanding over 70% market share and iPhone sale are constrained by supply.  Is it so difficult to copy Apple’s integrated software and hardware model?  Is it so difficult to copy Apple’s marketing and advertising approach?  Is it so difficult to establish a fan base?  Google has to raise payroll across the board by 10% and yet Apple don’t need to do similar to prevent poaching of key talents.  Why are competitors not successful in poaching Apple’s talents?  Are competitors constrained by the corporate culture formed under their founders?  These are not academic questions.  If I can understand the reasons, it would help me detect possible threats and any impending weaknesses in Apple business, hence adjust my stock portfolio accordingly.  Given my AAPL only stock portfolio, it is necessary for me to now and then evaluate Apple competitive landscape.

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  • Posted: 17 November 2010 06:19 PM #11

    Mace - 17 November 2010 09:55 PM
    Roman - 17 November 2010 09:08 PM
    Mace - 17 November 2010 03:36 PM

    Not commenting on your point.  Just wondering what those business schools think about Apple strategy.  An obvious comparison is vs first mover strategy.

    Not much from this particular angle, at least I haven’t encountered such an argument or case. I’ll keep looking.

    FK, I like the word confluence. Let’s add it to our vocabulary of Apple’s strategy. :cool:

    SJ has returned to Apple since 1997 and has surprised the market with the launch of the iPod in 2002.  Many business schools, media and analysts follow Apple closely.  Every move by Apple is analyzed.  By now, one would expect Apple business model, business strategy and operational approach are well understood.  Why is it after so many years, competitors are still surprised by Apple e.g. launch of iPad, iPods are still commanding over 70% market share and iPhone sale are constrained by supply.  Is it so difficult to copy Apple’s integrated software and hardware model?  Is it so difficult to copy Apple’s marketing and advertising approach?  Is it so difficult to establish a fan base?  Google has to raise payroll across the board by 10% and yet Apple don’t need to do similar to prevent poaching of key talents.  Why are competitors not successful in poaching Apple’s talents?  Are competitors constrained by the corporate culture formed under their founders?  These are not academic questions.  If I can understand the reasons, it would help me detect possible threats and any impending weaknesses in Apple business, hence adjust my stock portfolio accordingly.  Given my AAPL only stock portfolio, it is necessary for me to now and then evaluate Apple competitive landscape.

    Talent mixed with passion is one of the rarest combinations to be found in most corporations.  I’m not sure that you’ll find a viable competitor in the current landscape.

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  • Posted: 17 November 2010 08:03 PM #12

    EDIT: this post really rambles. It may even contradict itself. But it contained enough good stuff that I decided to throw myself on the mercy of the blog and hope that you ignore the contradictions and focus on the ideas, however poorly presented they may be.

    Mace - 17 November 2010 09:55 PM

    SJ has returned to Apple since 1997 and has surprised the market with the launch of the iPod in 2002.  Many business schools, media and analysts follow Apple closely.  Every move by Apple is analyzed.  By now, one would expect Apple business model, business strategy and operational approach are well understood.  Why is it after so many years, competitors are still surprised by Apple…

    This is a very insightful post. You’ve framed the issue nicely. Apple is extremely successful. Apple is extensively studied. Apple is extensively misunderstood. How can that be?

    John Gruber of Daring Fireball had a post on this a couple of weeks ago. His conclusion was that everybody knew how Apple did what they did, but no one wanted to do the work that Apple did to achieve their results. No one wanted sweat the details, focus on design and function, create their own chips, etc, etc, etc. Basically everyone wanted to be as successful as Apple, but no one wanted to do what it took to be as successful as Apple.

    I think there’s a lot of truth in Gruber’s take. But I also think there’s more. Frankly, here is where my analysis falls down. As much as I watch Apple, I still don’t understand them. I pride myself on being able to discern patterns and although I think Apple is as formulaic as they come, I can’t quite discern the formula they’re following.

    For example, one of the things that makes Apple great is their ability to know what we want before we know we want it. We, all the time, talk about how Apple eschews focus groups and toss out Henry Ford’s quote about how if he listened to his customers, he’d have made a faster horse. That’s all great stuff, but still… how the Hell does Steve Jobs keep knowing which products to discard and which products to promote and how the Hell does he do it time after time after time? It really scares me. There’s a big part of me that thinks that when Jobs leaves, Apple will efficiently continue on the path that Jobs has shown them, but that they will never again have a genius at the helm to make the nuanced coarse corrections necessary to take their products from good to great.

    There’s more of course. So much more that it would take a book, not a post, to explore it all. When I started this response, I wanted to go in a totally different direction. I wanted to talk about how often Apple goes against the grain and confounds traditional thinking. I haven’t made a list, but the advice that Apple has ignored is legion. We were told that had to license their OS. That Apple had to merge with this company or that. That Apple had to come out with a netbook. Time and time again Apple has ignored the advice, they have gone against the grain, they have defied the collective wisdom of the pundits, the analysts and their competitors. And time and time again the judgment of the market has proven that the Apple way is the right way. And yet…

    ...the pundits and the analysts and the competitors STILL don’t think Apple is doing it right. The original question was: How can Apple be so successful, so closely followed and so little understood? The reason seems to be that people simply don’t believe their lying eyes. They see Apple’s success, but they still think Apple is doing it wrong. That explanation neatly explains why Apple is not emulated. But it begs a whole new question: Why do we continuously refuse to believe in “The Apple Way” despite their mounting success? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

    You might argue that I’m wrong, that Apple has plenty of admirers. True. But they don’t have plenty of imitators. Or any imitators. And imitation is not only the highest form of flattery, it’s also the fastest way to make a buck. When someone else starts to do what Apple does, then I’ll know that they’ve learned the lessons that Apple has learned. Until then, I’ll wait and watch and try to figure out just what it is that Apple is doing right and wonder why it is that that, although they’re doing it right before our very eyes, we can’t seem to figure it out.

         
  • Posted: 17 November 2010 08:25 PM #13

    Reading your post made me think of the poem from Kipling called IF.  Read it if you do not already know it. Could Steve Jobs have been inspired by this poem? Could this be part of the reason for Apple’s success?

         
  • Posted: 17 November 2010 08:39 PM #14

    MacOz - 18 November 2010 12:25 AM

    Reading your post made me think of the poem from Kipling called IF.  Read it if you do not already know it. Could Steve Jobs have been inspired by this poem? Could this be part of the reason for Apple’s success?

    Thank you for directing me to that poem and allowing me to re-learn it once again. It’s worth posting, I think.

    IF…..

    IF you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    ’ Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
    if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son

         
  • Posted: 17 November 2010 08:41 PM #15

    Thanks MO,