Aside from a larger screen, one of the more oft-cited iPhone 5 rumors regards whether or not Apple will implement NFC technology into the device. NFC of course stands for Near Field Communications and the technology would enable iPhone owners to pay for goods and services by swiping their device over a payment pad.
Last week the Independent reported that Apple informed mobile operators not to expect NFC technology on the iPhone 5 due to the lack of an industry standard as it pertains to payments. Just a few days later came a second hand report from Forbes indicating that Apple may indeed include NFC capabilities on the iPhone 5.
From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information.
To further bolster his statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – whom he has been talking to for his own product – also expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC. These manufacturers are gearing up for the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring, likely this summer, said the entrepreneur.
So yeah, we’re at a standstill.
And now comes a report from the New York Times stating that Apple is definitely working on a mechanism that would allow iPhone users to make payments with their phone and have it charged back to them via their iTunes account.
According to two people with knowledge of the inner workings of a coming iteration of the Apple iPhone — although not necessarily the next one — a chip made by Qualcomm for the phone’s processor will also include near-field communication technology, known as N.F.C. This technology enables short-range wireless communications between the phone and an N.F.C reader, and can be used to make mobile payments. It is unclear which version of an iPhone this technology would be built into.
One person familiar with the new Apple feature said the phone’s credit card information would be tied to information currently used on iTunes, which would make it simple for customers to set up the new mobile payment method on the iPhone.
Some in-depth reporting, I suppose. It’s no secret that Apple has made a lot of NFC related hires and patent filings as of late, and the Times’ source relays that Apple is working on the technology, though not necessarily for the iPhone 5. Snarkiness aside, perhaps the question mark hovering over an NFC enabled iPhone 5 is the result of Apple still debating whether or not to go down that route this soon.
Either way, wireless iPhone payments are inevitable and with over 200 million credit card accounts already on file, Apple is in a unique position to capitalize on NFC technology going forward.