WSJ: Apple’s ‘iWatch’ to Include NFC, Preorders This Fall for 2015 Release

The Wall Street Journal this morning has reported more details on Apple’s upcoming wearable, according to sources familiar with the plans. One of the major features of the smart watch will be NFC, meaning the device could also play a part in mobile payments:

Apple Inc. plans to include short-range wireless technology in its coming smartwatch, according to people familiar with the matter, signaling that it sees a role for the device in digital payments.

The gadget’s use of near-field communication, or NFC, reflects Apple’s broader ambitions for the so-called iWatch beyond health and fitness tracking, the most commonly cited use. Apple also is expected to add the wireless technology to the next versions of its iPhone, people familiar with the device said, potentially simplifying the process of connecting, or pairing, the two devices.

Sources say NFC is a key factor in Apple’s overall plans to debut mobile payments where users can pay with their credit cards linked to their iTunes accounts, which currently stands at over 800 million Apple customers.

People familiar say Apple would beef up security in its iPhone 6 and possibly its wearable when it comes to payments by having unique sets of security codes each time mobile transactions are performed, encrypting credit card and loyalty card information.

As for the Apple smart watch, it will come in two sizes, have a curved OLED screen, along with sensors to track health and fitness vitals, according to people familiar with the matter.

Also, due to engineering difficulties in production, sources say it is unlikely the device would launch this year, despite Apple’s earlier targeted November release date, say sources. One source said there is “no way” the iWatch would ship this year, however Apple has yet to revise its timetable with its supply chain to ship components to Quanta Computer in Taiwan, pegged to manufacture the device.

This echoes a previous report by Re/code which noted the device’s release would be delayed until 2015.

Will you be able to pre-order the iWatch? Sources say yes, but there was no mention of a price point. Earlier rumours claimed Apple had considered charging up to $400 for its new wearable.

To date, no solid leaks of Apple’s smart watch plans have occurred. Secrecy for this device appears to have been ‘doubled down’, similar to what we saw with the new Mac Pro when it launched, taking everybody by surprise, because it was made in the USA.

Apple’s iPhone 6 media event is set to take place next week on September 9.