We’re only a few days away from Apple’s (AAPL) September 9 event, where the company is expected to unveil the iPhone 6. Apple is hoping you’ll think it’s the best smartphone available — regardless of platform — and the company is packing it with features and capabilities to make it the mobile equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife.
If all goes according to plan, the iPhone 6 will be capable of doing just about anything anyone would want a mobile device to do. A true all-in-one smartphone.
The latest piece of the puzzle appears to be mobile payment. Bloomberg’s Matt Townsend says Apple is finally adopting NFC (near-field communications) with the iPhone 6 and has agreements in place with major credit card companies including Visa (V).
Google’s (GOOG) Android supports NFC mobile payments with a smartphone — theoretically making the device a replacement for your wallet too — but it’s not that easy. There are multiple competing standards for mobile payment, and some of the players are actively blocking each other. For example, payment app Isis counts three of the big U.S. wireless carriers among its supporters, but to push that standard they actively block NFC payment using Google Wallet on Android phones sold to their customers.
As a result, mobile payment using a smartphone has so far failed to take off with consumers and retailers in a big way.
How to Make the Overall Best Smartphone
Apple and its competition have been striving to make their smartphone the center of your universe for years, but no one has quite nailed it yet. In part, that’s because different demographics have different needs.
For example, HTC has attempted to differentiate itself by appealing to the youth market. Its HTC One includes features that appeal to a younger crowd such as metal-clad styling, powerful front-facing speakers, premium ear buds and a camera optimized for low-light indoor shots. (The latest version is reviewed here.)
Microsoft’s (MSFT) Nokia has been chasing photography buffs, making high-quality cameras a primary feature of its flagship Lumia smartphones.
Samsung (SSNLF) is perhaps the most obvious example of trying to create the best smartphone for everything, with its Galaxy line. Packed with everything from a heart rate monitor to a TV remote, the Galaxy S5 can do a lot, but Samsung’s devices are often accused of suffering from feature overload. That comes in part because Samsung runs its own user interface over top of Android, and the result can be overwhelming for typical users.
With the iPhone 6, look for Apple to make its move for the all-purpose smartphone that finally nails the formula, becoming the device that replaces everything from your wallet to your house key — without being a confusing mess.
Here’s a closer look at the different ways Apple is trying to make iPhone 6 the best smartphone for everything: