NFC would also allow iPhone users a quick and easy way to share files from one iOS device to another.
Jim Peters, CTO of SITAagrees that NFC is coming to iPhone and retailers should prepare for it.
“Opinion is that Apple is going to incorporate NFC into Passbook. Apple just thinks about how they can make it really easy for the user, and then they figure out how to monetise it. They don’t think about how to monetise it and then tell the user what they can have. It doesn’t work like that,” said Peters.
“There aren’t any transactions in it yet, but I think that’s how Apple is going to sneak up on the industry. They are going to get people used to using it and then all of a sudden they will allow credit cards to be used in there, on the next iPhone, which will include NFC.”
He added: “There is a lot of debate that NFC will never take off because of all the arguments. But you need to get ready, this is coming. This is going to happen. By the end of the year the majority of smartphones that you go and buy will have NFC on them. If in October the next iPhone comes out and it has NFC on it, it’s game over.”
This is not the first we have heard that iPhone 5 would have NFC, however. Besides the deluge of ideas Apple has patented with NFC, the New York Times said pre-iPhone 4S that an upcoming iPhone would have NFC.
The iPhone 4S didn’t have NFC but that makes its successor a more likely candidate. In the implementation patented above, financial settings would be managed through iTunes but since Apple has recently made more of these types of features available on iOS, these renderings may be outdated.
Ed McLaughlin, who heads emerging payments at MasterCard, had an exchange with Fast Company earlier this year that seemed to indicate Apple was entering the Credit card/payments market as well:
…when asked to give an estimate for when smartphone payments would become commonplace (in other words, would 2012 be the year of NFC or contactless tech?), McLaughlin demurred–and may have dropped a hint about Apple’s future in the industry.
“The timeline is always as rapid as it makes sense for consumers,” he says. “That’s a combination of having a critical mass of the merchants, which is what you’re seeing right now, and getting devices into the hands of consumers. I don’t know of a handset manufacturer that isn’t in process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready.”
So that would include Apple then?
“Um, there are…like I say, [I don't know of] any handset maker out there,” McLaughlin says. “Now, when we have discussions with our partners, and they ask us not to disclose them, we don’t.”
If all that weren’t enough, we’d heard a well-connected developer tell us back in January that Apple was working on NFC, as well as some well-placed hirings.