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Apple Adopts Bluetooth 4.0. Could It Reject NFC?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the shifting-sands-of-time dept.

Networking 250

siliconbits writes "Two months after Apple joined the Bluetooth special interest group board, the company launched the world's first truly mainstream Bluetooth 4.0 devices, namely the new Macbook Air & Mac Mini 2011 editions. The products came only one year after the official core specifications of Bluetooth 4.0 were adopted and it looks likely that Apple fast-tracked Bluetooth 4.0's adoption so that the forthcoming iPhone 5 can use this technology with at least one Apple product. This could mean that the manufacturer is considering giving up on NFC altogether, a technology embraced by all of its rivals."

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How so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836386)

Is there some incompatibility between bluetooth 4 and NFC?

Re:How so? (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836416)

There doesn't seem to be. But Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and NFC seem to overlap in functionality.

False logic (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836396)

It's the first device that supports BT4. That does by no means mean that it will be a success, neither does it mean that manufacturers will instantly jump the bandwagon.

Despite all Apple success and the increase in market share, they're still a far cry from the "other" desktop computers. We should probably start talking when the iPhone supports it.

Re:False logic (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836478)

Despite all Apple success...

Haters gonna hate. :\ The only false logic I see here is saying "they've been successful in the past. It doesn't mean they'll be successful this time." While that's true, the fact is that Apple has a track record of strong consumer support. The standards their devices use have a strong bearing on what other manufacturers integrate into their own devices. No, I think talking now is exactly what's needed; NFC has yet to see a deployment by any major consumer hardware manufacturer. BT4 just signed its first contract, as it were. In IT especially, first to market usually wins.

Re:False logic (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836580)

I don't have any opinion about Apple either way, I just say that we should maybe not take the "Apple does it, it's gotta be successful!" too literal. While everything they do in the handheld market is an instant success, from iPod to iPhone to iPad, the same does not automatically apply to desktop computers. And while I'd applaud the development of ONE standard and being able to rely on it being future-proof (I sure as hell don't need another BluRay vs. HDDVD battle that kept people who wanted to adopt from doing so, fearing the other format would win), and I don't really care either way, whether it's BT4 or NFC, I also do not see how this is going to decide this. I would not jump on the BT train because Apple computers now supports it, and I doubt that many hardware manufacturers will.

If this was an iP$handheld instead of a desktop, we'd have a very different situation. So, I'll wait for them to support it before I make a decision either way. 'cause one thing is sure, the technology is vastly more interesting for handhelds and mobile devices than it is for desktops. If Apple decides to use it in its mobiles, we have a winner. No matter what MS et al are going to do.

But 'til then, I won't consider this decided.

Re:False logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837050)

Firewire - enough said....

Re:False logic (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837440)

Firewire was a huge success (and still is), just not in the consumer space. Even FW400 (the slowest speed in a non-prototype product) is still faster and more robust than USB2.

If you needed fast, reliable, low resource using external bus, then Firewire was excellent and is the de-facto standard for consumer DV cameras, pro-sumer stuff (before you start looking at things like SDI and so on), and used for things like external sound cards, hard drives, high-bandwidth scanners and cameras and so on.

It only lost out in the consumer space because it was more expensive to implement than USB2 (and the fact that Intel essentially put 22" rims and a huge engine into a Toyota Tercel and called it a sports car - USB was never designed for high throughput, and it suffers as a result at USB2 speeds, to the point that a FW400 bus [400Mb/s] almost always outperforms a USB2 bus [theoretically 480Mb/s but good luck] in real world use).

Re:False logic (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836646)

Actually, they're the third biggest computer manufacturer in terms of shipments (behind Dell and HP) and the biggest in terms of revenue and profits.

Re:False logic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837090)

I never understood why Apple fans brag that "their" company makes the highest profit off of them.

Re:False logic (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837266)

That does by no means mean that it will be a success, neither does it mean that manufacturers will instantly jump the bandwagon.

Well, Apple does have some leverage over device makers--namely the vaunted "Made for iPhone" program.

If you want that logo, you have to follow Apple's rules. If Apple says, "You want the logo, you have to support Bluetooth 4.0," you'll need to support Apple's rules. If you don't have the logo, your iPhone gives you snarky messages when you attach the device.

Re:False logic (1)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837272)

Apple does not need other vendors to be successful with BLE.

All apple needs is to streamline the effectiveness of cooperation between users within the Apple ecosystem. They control the entire ecosystem - head to toe -, unlike google, hp, sony, etc.

Its success should be measured against Firewire. While Firewire might have been a great technology, it was just a peripheral technology. BLE has the opportunity to streamline interaction between different _people_.

I'd guess they'll launch something like paypal and then enable person-person transactions and become one of the biggest single banks in history.

Minor uses in Access Control, sharing documents, playlists and music.

Re:False logic (1)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837276)

Oh yeah, enter patent lawsuits from visa, mastercard and paypal.

This is a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836428)

When the Jobs Reality Distortion Field is turned off, usually Apple is found to be selling overpriced, underspec'd hardware. But the one time they get it right, we jump on them?

Bluetooth supports cryptography. NFC does not.
Bluetooth has a higher bitrate.
Bluetooth has longer range.
The power consumption is similar ... in fact, the only thing NFC seems to do better is that it takes less time to setup because (ta-da!) it has no security built into it.

So tell me guys, given how much data is sitting on your iphone, android, blackberry, blueberry, and walla-walla-ding-dong phones, do you really want a transciever built into it that has no security capability at all... and one of its main functions is point-of-sale integration?

Sorry guys, but this time at least, Apple did good.

Re:This is a bad thing? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836510)

When the Jobs Reality Distortion Field is turned off, usually Apple is found to be selling overpriced, underspec'd hardware.

Not really. In the computer market Apple mostly sells a slick proprietary Unix operating system, bundled with large, computer-shaped anti-copying dongles.

Re:This is a bad thing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836548)

You might get more support if you don't start off your post with douchey lies having nothing to do with topic at hand. Most Apple laptops tend to be fairly price competitive at sale, and great deals when you factor in resale*. Even if you disagree, "the one time they get it right" is still so stupidly misleading that why should anyone listen to you?

*It's interesting how so many on /. only talked about iphone costs in terms of the cost of the phone + plans, but no one on slashdot ever mentions Apple's high resale value when doing comparing prices of other brands vs. Apple.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836608)

Because most slashdot users still have their first computer in a corner or in the attic. I know until recently my 486 SX25 was still at my parents house and I still have my first Athlon based system in the basement where it gets occasional use.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836686)

Because most slashdot users still have their first computer in a corner or in the attic

hey! ... someday I'm going to resurrect that thing.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836930)

Because most slashdot users still have their first computer in a corner or in the attic.

That must make me somewhat unique. My TRS-80 and PC/XT are long gone. I gave up on the dream of using them again a very long time ago. My single core Athlon is my oldest computer now that I pitched my Pentium III, and all it does is run a disk array I use for bulk storage.

Re:This is a bad thing? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836708)

Um...price competitive? Where?! I just took a look to make some comparisons. Apple vs similar laptop spec-wise. The worst case I found, Apple were just over £1000 more expensive, the best case, was only a few hundred. Apple are only price competitive on a small number of devices, and even then it really does depend where you shop.
When you buy Apple, you get a really shiny bit of tech, but you can almost always find the same spec product much cheaper elsewhere. You just don't get as much shiny.

I'd love to see Apple get price competitive but they never will. Part of their marketing is to put the price up and claim the product must therefore be better.

Re:This is a bad thing? (2)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837096)

This holds true while you only consider the internals: the CPU, graphics chipset, RAM, etc.

As soon as you consider other factors, Apple turns out to be fairly priced.
For instance, four years ago, when I suddenly got enough money to buy a good laptop, I was considering a ThinkPad. T40p, if my memory serves me right. An excellent laptop at the time, with an excellent screen, a ThinkPad keyboard and all the other nifty details that made it worth the price difference over similarly specced, yet cheaper laptops. It turned out it was sold out, and I could only get a significantly more expensive Windows version of the machine, which I was not ready to pay for; I’d intended to make it a Linux machine.
When I asked around for a good laptop in the same price range, the very first suggestion was a MacBook Pro. Roughly the same price, roughly the same specs, and I haven’t regretted it. Actually, I’m typing this on the very same laptop. I plan to replace it sometime next year, and I’ll buy an Apple machine again. You really do get what you pay for, though I admit not everyone is willing to pay extra for good design, a superb keyboard, quiet cooling system, and other things not shown in the specs list.

Apple does not do low-end devices. Thus it is wrong to compare their devices with their low-end competitors.
Compare them like for like, and Apple won’t seem so expensive. (Note, I’m talking about computers. I have no clue about mobile phones.)

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837206)

Superb keyboard isn't exactly something many agree on. Touch typists in particular. Solid touchpad yeah, keyboard is pretty damn bad though (in my opinion).

Re:This is a bad thing? (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837228)

And the extra you're paying is exactly for the shiny:
-- Generally better battery life than its contemporaries - sometimes significantly longer;
-- Generally lighter/thinner than its contemporaries - sometimes significantly smaller/lighter;
-- A whole bunch of fairly good consumer software to power your shiny new toy;

None of this comes without additional cost. Apple offers less choice in terms of customizability & models - but if you limit your search to similar sizes, weights, battery life, screen quality, and software (not just X Ram, X CPU, X HD capacity), the prices are fairly competitive.

Yes, you can get a laptop that will do "everything a Macbook does" for less money. But it will, almost invariably, be a heavier, bulkier model with lower battery life, and a shitload of preloaded crapware (including, for some people, Windows itself) that you'll want to delete almost immediately.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837390)

Apple vs similar laptop spec-wise

These comparisons are difficult. For example, how much is something like the illuminated keyboard worth? Are you comparing machines with the same battery life and size / weight? What about things like FireWire 800? I actually use that quite often for a couple of daisy-chained external disks. How about screen quality? I wouldn't buy an Apple laptop without the antiglare screen option - are the other laptops you're looking at including displays of a similar quality? Do they have switchable GPUs and automatically switch between the low-power and high-performance one? Do they have Thunderbolt?

Of course, you may not care about any of these things, and Apple generally doesn't supply computers that are competitive for people who don't.

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836724)

You might get more support if you don't start off your post with douchey lies having nothing to do with topic at hand. ...

then you proceed to type two paragraphs of douchey lies that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836824)

*It's interesting how so many on /. only talked about iphone costs in terms of the cost of the phone + plans, but no one on slashdot ever mentions Apple's high resale value when doing comparing prices of other brands vs. Apple.

You sure? I see the $599 iPhone selling for $50 [ebay.com] . I guess it depends on how long you hold onto your gear.

Hrm, that's a reasonable price for an iPod.

Macs are different because you can't go get a Mac for $50 down with a $2800 ISP contract obligation.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836830)

You might get more support if you don't start off your post with douchey lies having nothing to do with topic at hand.

Um. There is plenty that relates a very real perception of Apple products to a news article about Apple products. It has very much to do with the topic at hand, and is not a douchey lie.

*It's interesting how so many on /. only talked about iphone costs in terms of the cost of the phone + plans, but no one on slashdot ever mentions Apple's high resale value when doing comparing prices of other brands vs. Apple

Any positive for resale value is completely nullified by the fact that standard accessories are outrageously priced... Want a wall-charger? $30. Charge/sync cord wear out? $30. Earphones fell apart? $30. Hell, let's assume you get an iPad and want a keyboard: $70. Bluetooth keyboards for a real computer don't even cost that much.

I had an iPod Touch once, and I treated it well. I never yanked it off the charging cord and always kept my earphones well. It wasn't even like I was always using the thing very often. They both started coming apart about 6 months in. When I wanted to get an AC->USB adapter, I looked to see if Apple had an official one: $30... Needless to say, I didn't buy it. Instead, I bought a universal electrical outlet adapter (not transformer) that included USB ports for $15. That's served me a lot better and--unlike the Apple accessories that came with the iPod Touch--has not had any quality issues for years.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837140)

My wired, USB keyboard cost $70. Plus shipping from the US to Europe, plus customs and tax, which pretty much doubled the price.
Indeed, it is a Model M-lookalike, with the same key mechanism, and I love it and hug it and call it George. And it wasn’t even made by Apple.

Good peripherals cost good money. They are very often worth it, too.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837396)

Apple hardware has been a joke since they dropped Intel chips in them. It's just a dell, but at a drastically higher price. PPC chips were the only reason i ever used a mac, and the lack there of, is why i will never use one again. Same ram as dell, same chipset, same hard drive, same CPU, same GPU. Why is that ugly piece of plastic and soft, easy to scratch aluminum worth more, again? I await your enlightening answer.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836582)

So tell me guys, given how much data is sitting on your iphone, android, blackberry, blueberry, and walla-walla-ding-dong phones, do you really want a transciever built into it that has no security capability at all...

The problem isn't that bluetooth has security capability. It's that it forces security.

With bluetooth, there is no way to just connect without figuring out the target device's preprogrammed pairing code (usually 0000 or 1111), or typing the same code into both devices. This acts as another step that gets in the way of Joe Schmoe doing what he wants. In the case of some phones, they ask for confirmation every time for every file/contact that's going to be transferred -- with no way to permanently authorize a paired device. (This happened on an old Samsung phone that I bought while abroad, I forget which model.)

I see it similar to WiFi security. People who are aware of the risks of wireless communication between devices will want security. The standard user just wants the software/protocol/whatever to get out of her way.

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836820)

You are delusional. I think you should think about what you said. Its one thing to allow users to fuck up their PC at home (average MS users) its another to allow idiots to walk around spewing personal data all over the meatspace. There are ways to enforce security with minimal invasion. Your OLD *Samsung* case is nothing like how Bluetooth is implemented in premium devices today. I have never entered my pair code more than once and I LIKE that a 2 year old can't hijack my Bluetooth devices with zero effort. I understand it can be hacked, but at least it can't be done by every walmart checker.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836992)

You are delusional. I think you should think about what you said. Its one thing to allow users to fuck up their PC at home (average MS users) its another to allow idiots to walk around spewing personal data all over the meatspace. There are ways to enforce security with minimal invasion. Your OLD *Samsung* case is nothing like how Bluetooth is implemented in premium devices today. I have never entered my pair code more than once and I LIKE that a 2 year old can't hijack my Bluetooth devices with zero effort. I understand it can be hacked, but at least it can't be done by every walmart checker.

I'm sorry, I must have crossed an Apple fanboi. But okay, I'll bite. Obviously, *Samsung* doesn't have any "premium devices", and only "MS users" ever leave their wireless router unprotected.

As far as spewing personal data all over, Facebook should be a good enough example that people don't care about their personal data... They walk around posting location updates [facebook.com] now too.

Funny thing is that I actually think it's good for Apple to support this standard that forces the standard user to think about security.

Re:This is a bad thing? (3, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836878)

First, BlueTooth 2.1 and up supports Secure Simple Pairing, which has several security modes from "no-config encryption only" to "hardware authentication dongles":
1. Just works. A fully automatic encryption-only system that sacrifices protection against MitM attacks for the convenience of not requiring any user input. Think self-signed SSL certificates -- it's easy to use and secure against eavesdropping but vulnerable to active attacks.
2. Numeric comparison. Adds authentication to the "Just Works" method by displaying a passkey on both devices and asking the user to ensure they match. The only input required from the user is their acknowledgement that the displayed codes match.
3. Passkey entry. Like legacy pairing, but the passkey is 6 digits and is generated by one of the hosts and typed into the other (as opposed to the old 4-digit passkeys that may be user-selected and entered on both hosts).
4. Out-of-band. Bluetooth allows the exchange of authentication data entirely outside the BT data stream, allowing integration with other authentication and communications mechanisms. This allows for integration with hardware dongles or SSL certificates or whatever other sort trust system you'd like to establish for authentication.

Second, even for legacy pairing, isn't it easy enough to just try "0000" and "1234" when attempting to connect to a new device, and only prompt for user input of neither of those codes work?

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836762)

I was going to mod you up but I think a reply is probably better. I absolutely love that Apple is pushing Bluetooth 4, and think it has so many advantages*, (many of which you state) over NFC for local communications. However, NFC is not without merit. While it's being sold on the merits of being contactless payment system, the really cool part of NFC is the auto-configuration and app launching abilities it will open up. The possibilities for how to use that are quite vast and cool. In fact, it could (in theory) be a great way to make Bluetooth pairing easier. Or, it could be a nice way to let a guest or relative visiting your house configure Wi-Fi on their device simply by waving their device next to an NFC sticker. There is much more too, but these are just ideas to get the mind thinking about the possibilities. (Also from what I understand cyrptography is certainly possible with NFC, but may not be built in).

So while you're right, Bluetooth is far superior as a connectivity technology, NFC fills a different need and it's not without advantages.

*(Admittedly I'm a bit biased because I have developed two apps that make heavy use of Bluetooth).

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836822)

Someone has no real idea of what NFC payment is suppose to be about.

>Bluetooth supports cryptography. NFC does not.
So how many crypto keys are you going to generate? You want to make both parties search for each other's device and pair and then exchange data? That will never fly with consumers. If you make automatic handshaking and key exchange, it defeats the purpose of having keys.
>Bluetooth has a higher bitrate.
How much data are you going to use on that to make it really worthwhile? It's for short burst of data, not long term data exchange.
>Bluetooth has longer range.
The point is to have a closer range so you need to almost have physical contact with the device. Having a longer range means someone sitting a few feet away or further can access the information and use that to hack any encryption key you may have.

If Apple is going to use BT4 as payment data exchange and reply on it's encryption for security, it's not going to be secure. That's a fail. But hey, your apple overlord has issue the edict and you must comply to live in his kingdom.

Yes. This is a very bad thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836880)

We absolutely cannot abandon NFC.

Who is the AFC going to play in the Super Bowl?

Re:Yes. This is a very bad thing. (1)

Immerial (1093103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837164)

"Know your audience"

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836988)

Bluetooth supports cryptography. NFC does not.

The Internet (v4) does not support cryptography either... However, if two machines both equipped with support for either unencrypted protocol (Internet or NFC) wish to exchange encrypted data, what's stopping them from doing so?

Hint: TLS exists as a layer atop an unencrypted channel; Thus, HTTPS (part of the "World Wide Web") supports crypto...
(Also: I'd take upgradeable / patch-able software encryption protocols over hardware crypto implementations any day.)

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

tknd (979052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837030)

This article is just more worthless speculation. Bluetooth and NFC serve totally different purposes. The primary purpose of Bluetooth is tethering of devices wirelessly. The primary purpose of NFC is a "wireless key".

Probably some of the best implementations of NFC are already available. One example is hotel room card keys. Instead of a physical key, you get a card. The card conveniently unlocks your hotel room door.

Another good use for NFC is public transit ticket readers. Instead of purchasing a ticket, you just recharge a card. The card works just like the hotel key card except you tap it on subway ticket gates. The gate connects to a database and updates your card balance.

In both of these instances security requirements are low because (connection) speed is more important. For example say you lose your hotel key card. The back up security in this instance is to deactivate the existing key card and assign a new one. This is actually much more convenient than hiring someone to walk up to the physical lock and replace it with a new one.

Bluetooth is totally different. You DON'T want your phone to be syncing with every potential bluetooth device within 10 meters. You only want bluetooth to sync with trusted devices.

But of course this article will generate lots of comment traffic and lots of misleading comments that automatically get modded up just because it's about Apple.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837040)

When the Jobs Reality Distortion Field is turned off, usually Apple is found to be selling overpriced, underspec'd hardware. But the one time they get it right, we jump on them?

Bluetooth supports cryptography. NFC does not.
Bluetooth has a higher bitrate.
Bluetooth has longer range.
The power consumption is similar ... in fact, the only thing NFC seems to do better is that it takes less time to setup because (ta-da!) it has no security built into it.

So tell me guys, given how much data is sitting on your iphone, android, blackberry, blueberry, and walla-walla-ding-dong phones, do you really want a transciever built into it that has no security capability at all... and one of its main functions is point-of-sale integration?

Sorry guys, but this time at least, Apple did good.

I don't know, firewire was pretty much superior in every way to bluetooth, but the market went bluetooth anyway. BT4 may be superior to NFC, but from a consumer perspective it will come down to price and convenience. People on slashdot might worry about the things you mention, but the majority of phone buyers don't.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837064)

FireWire and Bluetooth address two completely different use cases. I don't think anyone's clamouring for a Bluetooth hard drive.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837162)

Hence NFC's "security" is range (i.e. tapping).

We have terms like security by obscurity, which does work in situations, though not in many others.

NFC brings to the table security by proximity--the island method (you're technically secure if you're on a stranded island miles away from the next person... and they can't hear you).

Increase NFC's range (which application engineers will *want*) and BT4.0 will be the superior tech. NFC should be a replacement for RFID, not BT...

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837250)

the other aspect of NFC that no-one seems to notice is that it'll be off all the time until you want to use it. You can't just click your phone against the reader to transfer money, you have to unlock the phone (at least) first. They say the only way to get security is to unplug from the network - this does that.

Incidentally I've heard of using NFC for pairing, followed by Bluetooth for data transfer. No more typing in codes to your bluetooth device, connect via NFC to enter the codes automatically.

Re:This is a bad thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837326)

Right. Taking a protocol that was never designed (or even had a glimmer in their minds) for secure financial data transaction should be forced to do so.

You want your packets sniffed by more people BECAUSE of it's longer range? (Encryption will fail eventually -- they all fall eventually, especially a 128bit key length). NFC requires you to practically be touching the sensor.

Incidentally, NFC readers are just now exploding onto the merchants. I can't imagine them immediately moving to BT4 EVEN IF your arguments were sound. So, enjoy your lack-of-payment, while everyone else enjoys their current-working NFC. Even if BT4 catches on, *YAWN* everyone will eventually implement it in the future anyway. The Samsung Galaxy S was the first major phone to support BT3.0 and did you see anyone care? (Maybe, since it's one of the top selling Android phones. Can't really say that was a popular must-have feature tho.) Just like Adobe Flash: we'll have legacy support for viewing older content, while pushing forward to HTML5. Congratulations on your lack of choice though, and your boneheaded insistence that what everything big red does is "the best".

Good job, you - once again(?) - were so happy to jump on the bandwagon that you didn't consider anything else.

Re:This is a bad thing? (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837344)

When the Jobs Reality Distortion Field is turned off, usually Apple is found to be selling overpriced, underspec'd hardware. But the one time they get it right, we jump on them?

Bluetooth supports cryptography. NFC does not.
Bluetooth has a higher bitrate.
Bluetooth has longer range.
The power consumption is similar

I can't believe that you want to muddy the issue with facts.

This is SUPPOSED to be about APPLE!

Of course they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836432)

Same reason why they're pushing Thunderbolt. That way they can force their clients to buy peripherals only from Apple or its authorized partners, and lock them in a bit more.

Remember when Apple made high-end tools for artists instead of crippled plastic toys to lock in sheep consumers? Oh, Wozniak, how we miss you...

Re:Of course they are (2)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836562)

Remember when Apple made high-end tools for artists instead of crippled plastic toys to lock in sheep consumers? Oh, Wozniak, how we miss you...

By high end tools for artists you mean the Apple II? Woz had little to do with the Mac.

Re:Of course they are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837410)

Woz had little to do with the Mac.

So little that every original Macintosh has his signature molded on the inside of the case...

Re:Of course they are (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836666)

Remember when Apple made high-end tools for artists instead of crippled plastic toys to lock in sheep consumers?

That era ended along with the GPU. Apple has never delivered a comparable 3D acceleration offering to PC/Linux/Solaris.

Re:Of course they are (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836682)

Yeah, dang that Apple invented proprietary thunderbolt. You'd NEVER see a company like Intel trying to create something like that just to lock in the users.

Same with Display port. Apple should stick to plugs designed by a standards organization instead of inventing their own stuff.

And don't even get me started on that proprietary USB only iMac.

Re:Of course they are (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836690)

You're right, they're pushing thunderbolt because of lock in, not because it's an intel defined spec that intel have already said they'll be building into all their next generation of chipsets. And not because it's a fast bus that integrates PCIe and allows them to do things like ship monitors that act like docking stations (see the new cinema display that has gigabit ethernet, firewire, usb, audio and video all running off the same standard intel connector).

Of course, it's apple, and therefore it's all about lock in... not actually just being better at the job.

Re:Of course they are (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837076)

Apple has a preferential deal with Intel (they pay 20% of what anyone else would have to pay for the TB chips). You won't see any Thunderbolt peripherals that aren't "Apple-approved" (i.e., made by companies that pay Apple a fee) for a long time. It is very much about lock-in. DisplayPort and PCIe are existing standards, there was no need for yet another interface that merely combines them (what's next, Thunderbolt Pro, which also includes SATA? or maybe Tunderbolt Pro Ultra, which adds HyperTransport? Or SDI?).

Steve Jobs has always said his role-model was Sony, and this is exactly the same kind of crap Sony kept trying to pull in the 80s and 90s.

Re:Of course they are (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837212)

Except for the fact that both BT and ThunderBolt are not owned nor controlled by Apple. Otherwise you might have had a point.

Bluetooth sucks (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836446)

There is no other way to describe it. I prefer buying devices with proprietary radios (mouse/keybaords etc) rather then HOPE BT will work. Does anyone know why Bluetooth sucks so bad and is so hard for it to be consistent? My PS3 handles its controllers over bluetooth like a dream, why cant all bluetooth work that smoothly?

Re:Bluetooth sucks (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836508)

My PS3 handles its controllers over bluetooth like a dream, why cant all bluetooth work that smoothly?

Same reason Wifi "sucks". Making products interoperable with each other using unlicensed spectrum is hard enough when you do have absolute control over the development of both the transmitter and receiver. Without it, the devices are only as good as the certification... which is to say, "not very".

Re:Bluetooth sucks (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836558)

I've tried bluetooth keyboards and mice and I agree they don't work well. Moderate priced keyboards and mice from companies like logitech which include both a proprietary receiver and transmitter (they call it unifying receiver) just seem to work. Plug them in and they pair without any difficulty. Bluetooth is just a PIA...

About the only bluetooth items that have been easy to use are the silly-looking BT headsets.

The technology never met its hype.

Re:Bluetooth sucks (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837088)

I had a lot of trouble with BT keyboard pairing, and I had pretty much given up trying until I borrowed a Apple BT keyboard. That thing worked perfectly! First time, and has worked since! Only quips with it is that there is no "off" switch, so when I put it into my bag I have to pull out the batteries lest it drain them constantly as I carry it around. All the other BT keyboards just didn't work! Additionally the Apple keyboard feel really nice to the touch! If you're having trouble with BT keyboards, try the Apple ones. I'm really impressed with it.

Re:Bluetooth sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837102)

"About the only bluetooth items that have been easy to use are the silly-looking BT headsets."

Except for the "next track" & "previous track" buttons... I don't know why they refuse to support those features. I hate having to spend 10 seconds using Voice Control to skip or replay a track when my BT headset has buttons for those functions...

Apple to Apple Bluetooth works just as easily (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836628)

And sometimes works easily with non-Apple Bluetooth devices.

Re:Apple to Apple Bluetooth works just as easily (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836726)

BULLSHIT. My Apple BT keyboard WILL NOT pair with my Ipad. That incident is the latest BT failure that spurred my original comment. It can see the device, it can even see the keyboards' personally assigned name, but will not pair. This is exactly the shit im talking about. PS3 is the only well handled bluetooth system Ive seen so far. Since i set it up FIVE YEARS AGO, i have never had to think about its bluetooth connections again

Re:Apple to Apple Bluetooth works just as easily (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836998)

Don't know about your incident, but pairing an Apple BT keyboard with an iMac is brain-dead. It's the same process as pairing a BT PS3 remote or headset with a PS3. However, I do have a problem with my headset losing its pairing.

Pairing PS3 controllers uses a bit of a cheat since plugging it in USB circumvents all the normal BT pairing procedures.

Re:Apple to Apple Bluetooth works just as easily (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837000)

There is a reason why HID Bluetooth devices are blocked. Apple sells an overpriced "iPad Keyboard Dock". Mr. Jobs says buy that and make him more money.

Re:Apple to Apple Bluetooth works just as easily (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837048)

Did you miss the part where i said it was an APPLE keyboard?

Re:Apple to Apple Bluetooth works just as easily (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837316)

There is a reason why HID Bluetooth devices are blocked. Apple sells an overpriced "iPad Keyboard Dock". Mr. Jobs says buy that and make him more money.

Nice theory - except my clunky old Belkin Bluetooth keyboard pairs with my iPad in a jiffy, and my cheap'n'nasty Packard Bell USB mini-keyboard works via the USB adaptor that comes with the $30 iPad camera connection kit (you get a "USB device not supported" message, but it still works).

Back under the bridge and wait for the next billygoat, mate.

The GP's problem is probably that he forgot to hold his nose and hum the star spangled banner while standing on one leg and holding the power button on the keyboard while counting to 3 (to 2 thou shalt not count, except that thou then proceedest to 3: 5 is right out!) to put it in pairing mode. Bluetooth devices can be a faff like that.

Re:Bluetooth sucks (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836712)

Luckily, apple's bluetooth stack is one of the absolute best out there – I've never actually had a device fail to work with my macs.

Re:Bluetooth sucks (2)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836740)

Because Sony performs some not-quite-standard tricks with the Bluetooth implementation of its controllers/the PS3. They also do extensive testing to make absolutely sure those two units interop.

Which is why things work. Have you noticed that there are NO other Bluetooth wireless controllers for the PS3? All other wireless controllers plug into a USB port because there's some Sony "special sauce". Also, to my knowledge, few if any people have ever gotten a PS3 controller to pair with a non-PS3 host. (USB is a whole other story for PS3 controllers.)

Re:Bluetooth sucks (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836846)

Non-Sony, dongle-less PS3 controller
http://www.gamestop.com/ps3/accessories/gioteck-ps3-hf-2-bluetooth-wireless-controller/90929?affid=9797&cid=ppc_60000001 [gamestop.com]

PS3 controler on PC via bluetooth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJnuekAp7Fk [youtube.com]

PS keypad on PC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFQoqreZ8cw [youtube.com]

Just sayin...

Re:Bluetooth sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837186)

Yeah, I'm not sure where the above facts came from. I've been using an app from this guy [benbarron.com] in order to use my Sony official PS3 bluetooth remote with XBMC on my PC for quite a while now, and it's always performed like a champ.

Re:Bluetooth sucks (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837098)

SOny keeps the password secret. it's why there is no iOS or android app to act as a remote for a PS3 since it should be trivial to do

Re:Bluetooth sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836860)

huh, every bluetooth device I use in OS X works perfectly fine.

Bluetooth Works Fine - If you buy GOOD products (1)

JakFrost (139885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837426)

I had no problem pairing Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000 ($42 USD) and their [amazon.com] Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 5000 [amazon.com] ($39 USD) with an HP Laptop with Bluetooth built in and a desktop both running Windows 7 and also with Ubuntu 10.04 and 11.04 using the default Bluetooth stacks in both OSes using a Bluetooth Class 1 (1 mW = 100-meter distance) dongle ($15 - 30 USD) [amazon.com] .

I use the keyboard which is always on sitting under my coffee table to occasionally type into XBMC Media Center running on Ubuntu 11.04 and my wife user the mouse with her laptop. The Bluetooth keyboard and the class 1 dongle work so well that I can type into the media center box from 20-feet and two rooms away with 4 walls in between. I also occasionally link my Motorola Bluetooth S9 headphones to listen to the audio in my desktop or laptop and haven't tried it yet with Ubuntu 11.04 and XBMC.

Biggest hurdle in Linux was learning to install the bluez-utils packages so that I can use the bluez- scripts to pair the devices since the straight Bluetooth hcitool connect commands wouldn't successfully pair the devices even though they would discover the devices, interrogate them, and go into discover mode on the dongle and start the pair mode. Just use bluez-* scripts to pair your Bluetooth and it works like a charm.

Buy good hardware from Microsoft or Logitech and use good OSes like Windows 7 or Linux with bluez Bluetooth stack and scripts to get your stuff working and you'll have universal Bluetooth hardware that won't become obsolete or be tied down to proprietary wireless standards and drivers from vendor who will abandon you on the next OS release (e.g. Logitech).

Re:Bluetooth sucks (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837446)

Does anyone know why Bluetooth sucks so bad

Because it is overkill for keyboards and mice, more expensive and power hungry than proprietary radios, so people don't buy bluetooth keyboards and mice so the drivers don't get debugged etc... The only real attraction for mice/keyboards is if you have a laptop with built in BT, but now that the proprietary wireless dongles tend to be those low profile jobs that you can leave in a laptop USB port without getting snapped off, that's less of a consideration.

What, no more iDweeb wires-into-ears look? (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836476)

This from a company that's been pushing wired headphones for years? Maybe Apple will finally get stereo Bluetooth support to work right.

Re:What, no more iDweeb wires-into-ears look? (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836496)

Want to hang AAA batteries from each ear, do you?

Re:What, no more iDweeb wires-into-ears look? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836610)

Why not? They're stylish and functional.

Re:What, no more iDweeb wires-into-ears look? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837056)

Have you ever used a bluetooth headset? They weigh almost nothing, and some are so small that you wonder where they put the battery (and I've never seen one that uses AAA).

Level Up! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836828)

What, no more iDweeb wires-into-ears look?

Actually, no, I upgraded from those a long time ago. [vuzix.com]
You people can call me a tool all you want -- I can explode your heads revealing the underlying talking anuses with my altered reality... [vuzix.com]

NFC is unrelated (5, Insightful)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836500)

NFC is an almost entirely unrelated technology. Granted BlueTooth and NFC share some common features, but NFC is for other things. We use it for digital payment here in Japan for example - that's something you don't want going over BlueTooth. NFC is also good for various physical hot-spot applications. NFC also allows for physical queuing - something some fast food restaurants use for example. BlueTooth on the other-hand handles headsets and other peripherals, as well as a variety of inter-device communications. My phone has both BlueTooth and NFC, as do most phones here in Japan. To have both makes perfect sense.

Re:NFC is unrelated (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836728)

We use it for digital payment here in Japan for example - that's something you don't want going over BlueTooth.

You don't want it going over the encrypted-by-default standard, but you do want it going over the 100% unencrypted no matter what standard?

Re:NFC is unrelated (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836786)

I expect the information being sent over NFC to be encrypted. There's nothing that requires data transmitted via NFC be unencrypted.

Unless you want to try and pair with every wireless payment device you come across?

Re:NFC is unrelated (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836838)

You don't want it going over the encrypted-by-default standard

You can't realistically do a bluetooth pairing every time you need to pay for something. Encryption is nothing without authentication, and the authentication problem cannot be solved.

For payments you need end-to-end encryption, and then it doesn't matter whether the wireless link itself is encrypted.

Re:NFC is unrelated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837136)

What's worse -
  • (a) confidential data communicated over an encrypted & breakable protocol, advertised to everyone around you.
  • (b) encrypted confidential data communicated over an unencrypted protocol, advertised to receiver chips within 4cm.
  • Problem with the 1st method is that it encourages weak security, where developers rely on the "security" inherent in BlueTooth.

Re:NFC is unrelated (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837174)

Unencrypted no matter what? That's garbage. An omission of cryptography standards just means its cryptographically agnostic. Do you consider TCP/IP to be 100% unencrypted no matter what? Do you consider ethernet to be 100% unencrypted no matter what? Even written English can be encrypted in any of it's transport protocols (writing, speaking). What about just RAM storage? Can nothing be encrypted in RAM? Bits are bits, you can transform them any way you want, and send them over a dumb wire or dumb air where 1s are defined and 0s are defined, to be translated in any fashion you want.

they do this all the time, and it works for them (3, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836504)

[Apple] is considering giving up on NFC altogether, a technology embraced by all of its rivals

Apple isn't known for giving a crap what their competition is embracing. (that's MS's gig) I think the basic ideas is "why have a feature that everyone else has, giving the consumer a choice between our product and a dozen competitors, when we can offer an appealing feature that we have a large portion of the market on"?

Makes perfect sense really. Hype something that you, and everyone else, is offering, or hype something that they can only buy from you? That's just smart business.

Now of course this relies on the market adopting it if it's a compatibility thing, but then if you've already established yourself as the representative for the feature, you've accomplished your goal and it's ok for the competition to run up into the back of the pack with support too and their support for "your feature" just works to your advantage then.

Apple did it with USB (2)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836704)

The iMac was the first computer to ship with USB standard. It's dropping of legacy ports wasn't copied in the PC world for years.

Re:Apple did it with USB (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837368)

Only when PC laptops got small enough did they start dropping legacy ports, and that's just due to lack of space.

Some new PCs still ship with PS/2 keyboards, for crying out loud.

'Nothing beside remains. Round the decay...' (4, Funny)

phatphoton (2099888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836534)

'And on the cable these words appear --
"My name is Apple (tm)(c)Inc., king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"'

Do they even fill the same role? (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836538)

After a quick glance at NFC, it seems like Bluetooth and NFC don't even fulfill the same roles. NFC only has a working range of 20cm or less, while Bluetooth can reach for something like 20-30 meters (in extreme cases). That seems like it would make NFC useless for headsets, as a phone in the pocket is going to be more than 20cm away from your ear. Same thing for laptops. Also, NFC has an extremely low data rate compared to Bluetooth, so your not going to use it for file transfers. Seems like NFC is mostly useful for things like credit cards/ID badges/ etc. which Bluetooth would be useless for, since it needs pairing, while Bluetooth is used for voice/video communication, file transfers, and the like.

Am I wrong about this? Anyone know more about NFC compared to Bluetooth? I do see that Bluetooth 4.0 is low energy, so it could fill some of the roles of NFC, but it can't do passive RFID like NFC can, so again, different technologies for different uses. Seems like the story (at least the summary) is just sensationalist speculation. Seems like not using NFC would be quite stupid on Apple's part in any case, since nearly everyone else is. Having the iPhone/ MacBook not work with actually deployed technology seems like it would be a huge mistake for Apple.

Re:Do they even fill the same role? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836772)

Yup - BT4.0 and NFC address completely different problem spaces.

And not including NFC will potentially cripple Apple, since in this particular case it's not just about what their competitors support - it's what retailers/other point-of-sale venues support. "I support NFC already - you want me to add something else that only works with YOUR devices?"

Re:Do they even fill the same role? (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836844)

NFC works with passive devices too, one active device generates a signal to power the other one. I do not see Bluetooth replacing that

Re:Do they even fill the same role? (1)

robmv (855035) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836868)

oops wrong reply to Baloroth that already told this. FAIL

Re:Do they even fill the same role? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837336)

Bluetooth 4.0 competes with ANT [thisisant.com] . One reason Apple wants this is the Nike+ device communicates with the iPhone/iPod via ANT. That means, in the iPhone and iPod touch at least, yet another radio stuck in the device. If Apple can run it through Bluetooth 4.0 and get the same battery life, they can drop the ANT stuff.

Doesn't matter (2)

gaspyy (514539) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836568)

If bluetooth transfer is available only between two Apple devices, it won't mean much.
I actually hate this attitude.

Why can't I take a photo with my Blackberry and transfer it to my iPad? Why can't I download a pdf on the iPad and transfer it to my Playbook via bluetooth?
There's no technical reason why I could not transfer files and settings (such as calendar and address book entries between an Apple device and any other phone). This is old tech.

I managed to find a way to transfer files via ftp, making the iPad an ftp server and connecting with the playbook/torch as a client but this obviously requires a wifi connection and of course I can't transfer photos or music from the ipad this way.

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836950)

Why can't I take a photo with my Blackberry and transfer it to my iPad?

This is why you want to visit www.jailbreakme.com and jailbreak your ipad, and then install Celeste through the Cydia application. This gives you full bluetooth capabilities to all devices from your iPad. Awesome stuff.

iPhone still can not send files over Bluetooth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836574)

Did the iPhone skip previous Bluetooth versions?
Because iPhone still can not send files over Bluetooth
https://discussions.apple.com/message/13009289?messageID=13009289

What it means is that siliconbits needs new hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36836784)

The only thing this "article" clearly establishes is that the submitter needs a better-fitting tinfoil hat.

It could jsut mean... (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36836916)

It could just mean that we have an opportunity to speculate wildly on basis of limited information.

Re:It could jsut mean... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837466)

Yeah... "Two new computers were released without NFC support, and support for the newest version of Bluetooth, older versions of which Apple's computers have supported for years now. We can then conclude from this that the iPhone 5 will definitely not support NFC, and instead will simply support BT4."

FTA:

we suspect that it could even be used to rival NFC (Near Field Communication).

So they don't know, they're pulling a wild guess out of their collective asses. Using that same logic, I suspect that my urine could be a suitable replacement for a cold glass of lemonade on a hot day! After all, they're both liquid, and both have a yellowish hue!

Just like Thunderbolt, Apple could singlehandedly decide to pioneer that technology against all the odds,

So an industry standard developed by Intel, slated for inclusion in all their chipsets, and offering immense benefits for throughput and standardized connectivity is a technology that "Apple is singlehandedly pioneering against all odds"? Apple may have been an early adopter, but I'd say that, given Intel's commitment to supporting it on their chipsets, calling it a bold, contrarian move is a little much.

Apple may use only one

Translation: "I need to fill up a page with senseless ramblings so we have more ad impressions. I will now compare a new desktop and a new portable computer to some speculative vision of what may or may not be included in the iPhone 5 when it finally sees the light of day."

What the hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36837108)

The macbook air and the Macmini are not phones. I don't think they are reasonable targets for NFC. The iPhone and iPad are (and the iPad could be a Point of Sales system.)

NFC is designed for the Mastercard Paypass type of systems, we might not see it in the iPhone5/iPad3 if the parts aren't cheap enough. But you have to be fantastically stupid to thing NFC replaces Bluetooth.
Wifi = Long use high speed network connectivity.
Bluetooth = long use Wireless USB (BT is not good for network connectivity except where no WiFi is available)
NFC = short use touch/tap communications.

Apple might be waiting to incorporate a wireless charging system before implementing NFC to prevent interference between the two.

But more to the point if you've noticed, Apple carries the Square magstripe reader in their store, the intent might be to support using the iPhone/iPad as both a NFC originater (use the device as a e-wallet) and as a receiver (accept PayPass cards and other devices for payment, since magstripes are being phased out everywhere outside the US.)

Re:What the hell... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837322)

Indeed. Apple adopts $TECHNOLOGY_1 for their desktops. Rampant speculation on /. about whether they are ignoring somewhat related $TECHNOLOGY_2 for their iPhones. News at 11.

Re:What the hell... (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36837350)

I could maybe see it in the MacBook Air, but you're right about the Mac mini...

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