Another day, another Apple rumour about the yet to be released iPhone 5 and its specification –and nothing has been talked about more than its NFC capabilities – or lack of.
NFC - or Near Field Communication as wireless bods call it - will allow consumers to pay for goods using 'wave and pay' technology. It could even be used instead of an Oyster card, meaning your phone could effectively become the Oyster.
But according to a report in the Independent on 14 March, Apple will not have NFC on its new iPhone because it is ‘concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry’. The report added that Apple is in fact working on its own proposition of NFC, which would include a payment method involving iTunes. The earliest we would see this on an iPhone is next year.
This news came as bit of a surprise because of lot of people in the industry are talking about NFC as the next big thing – we know Google has already launched NFC in its new Android Nexus S.
And RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie said at MWC that ‘many, if not most’ BlackBerrys introduced this year will include NFC.
It's not just handset manufacturers talking about this. Tesco, Transport for London and O2 are also talking about the potential of this new 'wave and pay' technology. So will Apple’s iPhone 5 feature NFC?
Some say yes. A Forbes report written just four days after the Independent article said: ‘The iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top secret NFC product told me today.’
To further bolster this statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – who 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.
And it’s not just Forbes who thinks this is plausible. Business Insider says, 'NFC could be useful for mobile payments and commerce – an industry many think Apple will get into, because it has more than 200 million iTunes accounts with credit cards.'
This would be good news for non-mobile manufacturers if they want to generate revenue from NFC as Apple not only has a huge customer base, it controls a 29% revenue share of the smartphone market.
All this speculation and rumour will no doubt be confirmed or denied at the annual iPhone launch in June – also known as the Apple WWDC 2011 Keynote Address.
It’s likely Apple will do NFC but, as per usual, it will do it the Apple way. Others might do NFC because it’s needed but Apple will want to know what NFC can do for Apple.
So until June, let the rumour mill commence.
Does the iPhone need NFC or does NFC need the iPhone?