Apple continues work on unknown device with NFC, Bluetooth LE device, FCC filing shows

“A new listing on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s regulatory database reveals Apple is still working on an unannounced product equipped with near-field technology that first surfaced in September of 2016,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“The latest update concerns a device with the model number A1846, with the documents released including a regulatory label in an FCC drawing,” Owen reports. “The filing is in general very similar to another database listing uncovered last year, and since the newer model number is incremented by two compared to last time, it strongly suggests this is an update of the same device.”

Owen reports, “AppleInsider‘s contacts within Apple corporate have refused to comment on the device.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hmmm…

U.S. FCC filing reveals unknown Apple wireless device with Bluetooth and NFC – September 23, 2016


    1. Actually that is an excellent idea. If Apple got off its derrière and updated the iPod lineup with a new portable mega media server that was a durable 1TB device with ports for interfacing with legacy stuff on the road, offline and online Siri control with excellent room mic and speaker, plus a charging cradle that allows it to replace Apple TV and also Time Machine in one portable device. Make the cradle have USB ports for NAS local storage expansion. Make it the absolute most have homekit hub. Make it secure and guarantee user privacy. That would be the killer product that Apple should have released instead of the pathetic app-reliant Apple TV.

  1. The article mentions the pinout, which includes RS485 connections and that the typical current draw will be around 100mA from 5.5 to 13.2V, with a peak of 700mA. That amounts to a typical power consumption of 0.5W to 1.5W, with an absolute maximum of less than 10W.

    The modest power consumption suggests that it’s unlikely to be a wireless charger for laptops, furthermore such a device wouldn’t need RS485 capabilities.

    This mysterious object appears to be some sort of peripheral device, but the aspect I find most intriguing is the use of RS485. It’s a protocol that is optimised for reliably sending data over long distances. I’ve had a lot of involvement with stage lighting systems using DMX, which in turn rides on the RS485 system. Apple computers no longer have simple cabled serial connections, so this device doesn’t appear to be designed to plug directly into any known Apple device, but of course could connect wirelessly, but in that case, the RS485 capability would be unnecessary.

    My initial guess was that it might be something to do with home automation,where long cable runs might be needed, but I don’t see Apple doing that when wireless alternatives are readily available and so much easier to install.

    RS485 implies that it could be connected to another device by cables and an obvious reason for doing that would be for better security compared to a wireless connection, that would be a particularly crucial aspect if financial transactions are involved. If Apple were to create a point of sale reader for cards and smartphones, then it could employ every feature that has been disclosed, would draw approximately the amount of power mentioned, would advantageously use a cabled connection and could be sold in vast numbers to make it a profitable product.

    1. Interesting analysis, alanaudio. If system power is limited to 10W, then it is inadequate to charge most Apple devices, even just a single device. For example, Apple’s fast charge protocol for iPhones and iPads has a peak of 2.1A @ 5V, or 10.5W. It could probably charge multiple Apple Watches, but that does not seem very useful…

      Home automation does not seem likely, either. After decades of abandoned home interconnection/wiring standards, wireless has already assumed the lead role going forward, and Apple has been pushing wireless for the past couple of decades. Apple and others are going to have to find ways to secure wireless home automation and security systems, because few people are willing to have another set of spaghetti wires running around their houses.

  2. Point of sale seems most likely. I can’t imagine why you’d need an NFC reader in your home other than the one in your phone or iPad. I guess I could see a lock that would ulock with either your phone or a card or fob. But I can’t imagine Apple getting into that market. I can see them wanting to do Point of Sale because presumably it would make them money on transactions.

    1. We will certainly do that, MB. But one of the fun aspects of being part of the Apple community over the years has been to speculate on new devices and software. We have often done a pretty darn good job of predicting Apple’s next moves. It just got out of control when lots of people jumped on the Apple bandwagon and “pundits” and “bloggers” and “analysts” began making crap up for various reasons.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.