The first beta of iOS 12.3 has revealed something interesting about the Apple Card: the physical, titanium card will be activated through your iPhone in a similar way to AirPods, Beats headphones and the Apple HomePod.

You lay the card near your iPhone and you will see a window pop-up, showing that it has been recognised and can be activated. A tap on the "activate" button and your (literally) shiney new card will be unlocked to use in stores.

Apple's process was found by 9to5Mac while searching for changes in the latest beta version of iOS. What the site doesn't say though is how it works technically.

As far as we were aware, the physical Apple Card has just your name and the Apple logo engraved on it, with no CVV or number on the front or rear. There is also a chip for use in a store's chip and PIN reader. That's it.

There are no indications that it is contactless-enabled - although there are many suggestions to the contrary.

But if there is no NFC chip inside, how does your iPhone recognise it wirelessly?

We can't answer that right now, although we suspect that there might well be a previously unannounced contactless chip housed in the card that is only used for the one purpose: for communication on setup.

It makes sense; Apple would rather you used your iPhone to make contactless payments in stores than the card, while the card is purely provided to also make payments in retail outlets without Apple Pay support.

We'll find out more once the card itself is officially available.

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