Apple Might Open iPhone NFC Chip to Third-Party Apps

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In an interview with 01net (via AppleInsider), the CEO of France-based wireless player Orange, Stephane Richard, said the carrier’s proprietary mobile payments service Orange Cash will be available on the iPhone “in a few weeks,” leading to speculation that Apple might finally allow third-party apps and services to access the iPhone’s NFC chip.

While talking about Orange Cash, the carrier’s boss threw in the surprise news that after months of negotiations with Apple, the two parties had reached an agreement. “Apple has informed us that they are now ready to integrate our app, Orange Cash, on the iPhone, which is very good news,” the Orange CEO said. Orange Cash has nearly 100,000 users in France.

His comments immediately triggered speculation that Apple could finally open up access to the NFC chip embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6s models.

Orange Cash is currently available only for Android smartphones and requires a compatible (NFC-equipped) handset and an NFC SIM card for it to work.

Stephane Richard’s announcement comes almost a month after French blogs started reporting a possible launch of Apple Pay in the country by the end of the year.