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The iPhone 5 to support NFC?

It will happen eventually, but rumors are increasing that the next iPhone will support Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC would enable the following features:
  • Exchange data between devices directly. At the moment, peer-to-peer communication between devices is complicated: They usually need to be connected to the internet etc. With NFC, you will be able to tap one device onto another to initiate a data exchange. Let’s hope that all operating systems will support a common standard for such exchanges. Quoting the Wikipedia article on NFC:
    NFC offers a low-speed connection with extremely simple setup, and could be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections. It could, for example, replace the pairing step of establishing Bluetooth connections or the configuration of Wi-Fi networks.
    Wi-Fi Direct [4] should work just as well as Bluetooth in peer-to-peer scenarios, while giving you more bandwidth.
  • Mobile payment. Apple would join Google [1] and Microsoft [2] in turning the mobile phone into a virtual wallet. The iOS 6 Passport app [3] could easily take on payment functionality. Apple is in the comfortable position of already having a working payment system via the iTunes store. Quoting “Will Apple disrupt mobile fundraising?” by Erik Nilsson for Campaigns & Elections:
    Due to our love of music, Apple’s iTunes has more than 400 million of our credit cards on file. PayPal, whose total business is based on payment processing, only has 100 million credit cards on file. In the online world, Apple is a payment processing juggernaut. In Q1 alone, Apple had over $39 billion in sales. In other words, Apple is really good at managing transactions.
    Note that Apple also has prepaid services, thanks to its gift cards.
  • Mobile identification (tickets, access to restricted areas as currently managed via keycards, etc.).
Related blog posts:
  1. Google Wallet: pay with your Android phone (a summary)
  2. Windows Phone Summit: the highlights
  3. Apple’s WWDC announcements: a summary
  4. Wi-Fi Direct: use Wi-Fi like Bluetooth

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