Content and the new iPhones

Apple released two new iPhones on Tuesday 9 September. Both models, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, are larger than previous designs, have a new look and include much higher resolution screens. They also feature new ways to access content.

Apple leads the smartphone market, so what Apple does should be considered carefully and competitors will follow. To start, very high resolution HD screens should make digesting content that bit more pleasurable, and other manufacturers are certain to copy this.

There will also be new ways to access content. One of the biggest stories around the launch has been the inclusion on NFC chips in the new phones. NFC, or Near Field Communication, is a way of transferring information quickly using radio frequencies. It’s how contactless payment cards work.

While NFC has been around for many years it has never really caught on, despite being widely available on non-Apple phones. Analysts have maintained that NFC has no real chance of significant uptake without Apple’s involvement. Now we have it.

Apple has introduced NFC as a way to let you pay with your phone, rather than a card. You would flourish the phone against a reader in much the same way you might swipe an Oyster card before getting on the tube. You should eventually be able to use your phone instead of an Oyster card, credit card, tickets for concerts and so on.

You may know that Apple already has a way to store digital rewards or tickets, known as Passbook. The problem with Passbook was the information remained on the phone. Now, you can pay and redeem points at the same time with the NFC system, all with a single swipe.

But the NFC system can do more than just process payments, and presents many opportunities for content delivery too. In addition to payments, advertisers can send content through NFC. Some NFC-enabled ‘smart’ posters have been available for a number of years that can send supplementary content to a phone or tablet. This idea can now be developed. You could be given content while you pay, or while you wait, or on a train. Anywhere there is an NFC system.

The last surprise from Apple is another feature of its iOS 8 operating system, allowing users to continue what they were doing between devices. This could be writing an email, reading an article or listening to a song. One impact will be to make content more prominent, as the interruptions you experience between devices will be minimised – you won’t need to find your place.

Both devices will be available from September 19, and there is also a ‘smart watch’ that synchronises to phones down to the iPhone 5.

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