The Federal Ministry of the Interior has announced that it will be possible to scan German ID cards with an iPhone running iOS 13.
This follows earlier news that iPhones will be able to scan the NFC chips in Japanese ID cards and British passports.
Apple originally locked the NFC reader in iPhones so that it only supported the data format for contactless payment cards, limiting use to Apple Pay. With iOS 13, Apple is removing that restriction, so that iPhones fitted with the chip will have the technical ability to read any NFC chip.
Apple still needs to approve apps on a case-by-case basis, but the existing precedents mean we can expect it to approve all official government apps for passports and ID cards. Any country that wants to be able to offer this capability to its citizens will be able to do so.
MacDailyNews Take: As Lovejoy notes, it will be interesting to see how privacy-loving Germans take to this idea.
For Germans, more than for the citizens of virtually any other Western economy, “money” still means, above all, physical cash. The average German wallet contains 103 physical euros, the European Central Bank estimated in November, more than three times the figure in France. Cash is still the means of payment in some 80 percent of point-of-sale transactions, compared with only 45 percent—and falling fast—next door in the Netherlands. Using cash is a habit deeply resistant to regulatory intervention; mild suggestions in 2016 that it might be restricted in certain circumstances in Germany ignited passionate protest from almost every point on the political spectrum…
For many Germans, the convenience of electronic payment is beside the point. Rather, the use of cash has, to a surprising extent, become a proxy for profound concerns about trust, privacy, and the role of the state.
MacDailyNews Take: Besides privacy, another benefit to using cash is, of course, the ability to avoid taxes.