Apple has been noticeably late to the contactless game. They first made moves into the space a few years ago with the launch of their mobile payment platform ApplePay, but with the recent launch of iOS11, we’re seeing Apple embrace two older contactless elements worth getting excited about again: QR codes and NFC tags.

Rewind to almost ten years ago and QR codes were exploding onto the scene. CPG companies were big fans of putting a code on packages and print ads, but surveys conducted in 2012 showed that most users had no idea what QR codes were. No one downloaded any apps, and if they did they were mostly poorly designed. But this past week the new iPhone iOS11 operating system was released, and it quietly added a native feature to the camera app: the ability to scan a QR code. It might be nearly ten years too late, but QR codes are now being given a second chance. 

Like QR codes, the idea of NFC tags is not new. The only problem with them years ago was, until now, they did not work on an iPhone. The reality, like it or not, is that it’s hard to sell a creative idea involving mobile that does not work with an iPhone. But now, big brands are ready. Nike is launching a new app and product line later this month that uses NFC, and in partnership with the NBA, they’re also launching a new line of connected jerseys where each jersey will contain an embedded NFC tag that you can scan with the NikeConnect app to unlock new experiences.

Forecasts were not wrong about the use of QR and NFC in mobile commerce; they were simply premature. Anyone can make a QR code and NFC tags cost pennies. Now we have to wait to see how the creative community will try to adopt them, again, with Apple on board. It looks like QR and NFC are now getting a second chance.

Originally published on Little Black Book

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