Recent reports suggest that Apple will include Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology in its next-generation iPhone.
NFC is a contactless technology currently found on many smartphones, allowing for transfer of small amounts of data between two devices held at a small distance from each other. Apple did not embed NFC in any of its iPhones so far, but it seems that with growing demand and popularity of NFC in smartphones, the company will finally start using the technology in its upcoming iPhones.
"Last summer, hardware code dumps from two prototypes, the Apple iPhone 5.1 and the Apple iPhone 5.2, revealed support for NFC in both units," Phone Arena claims in a new report. "Recently, Apple received a patent for a cross-platform data syncing method that uses NFC to set up lines of communication between two devices and then sends the data using a peer-to-peer network, which is exactly how S Beam works."
The Phone Arena report also notes that the upcoming Apple mobile operating system, iOS 7, will allow contactless sharing of data between iPhones using a peer-to-peer network, thus eliminating the need for iPhone users to tap the devices.
The mobile payment space is expanding and many businesses are accepting mobile payment via smartphones using NFC. Even though Apple uses Passbook as a mobile payment option, it may still not be considered as a tap-to-pay application. Apple will likely want to stay on top of new technological developments and could join the NFC bandwagon in the near term.
Metal-clad devices, however, could pose an issue. Apple has used a metal chassis in all its iPhones so far, but a metal body can easily interfere with the proper functioning of NFC. Many rumors suggest that Apple may launch a budget iPhone along with a normal iPhone this fall. Leaked images of the budget iPhone suggest that the handset will have a plastic case which highlights the fact that the upcoming smartphone may have NFC.
Apple has not announced any details of the upcoming iPhone, but considering that the company launched the iPhone 5 in Sept. 2012, a fresh iPhone may make its debut around August or September this year.