With every iteration of the iPhone, Apple (AAPL) seems to elicit that reaction from fans. Whether it's a Cut & Paste function, MMS, a notification bar, default turn-by-turn navigation, and the promise of 4G LTE connectivity, there have been more than a few glaring features that Apple -- a company said to be ahead of the curve -- should have implemented long ago.
But judging from the rundown of iOS 6 at WWDC earlier this month, Cupertino has many exciting features in store for users once the next iPhone is introduced. Aside from the wholly revamped Apple Maps, one feature that hinted at major changes to come was PassBook -- an app which stores rewards cards, gift cards, boarding passes, and any barcode-based retail card you may have in your wallet. While those with the Starbucks (SBUX) app are already familiar with holding their iPhones up to a barcode scanner, PassBook suggested that Apple wasn't just going to stop there.
And fortunately, a new report from 9to5Mac suggests that the company won't be.
In the midst of a very slow rollout and adoption rate for the technology, Apple is finally integrating NFC chips and antennae into its iPhone line. The company is hoping to jump start a wallet-less society in the ways that Google (GOOG), RIM (RIMM), and Microsoft (MSFT) couldn't.
Confirming reports of NFC-enabled iPhones being delivered in 2012, 9to5Mac discovered iPhone 5 prototypes carrying NFC -- allowing future users to not only pay for items with a swipe at a kiosk, but also share files and information with one another in a Bluetooth-esque fashion.
CTO of SITA Jim Peters also predicts Apple's grand foray into revolutionizing commerce.
"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," Peters said. "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."
Adding, "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."
Although the proliferation of NFC across a variety of devices is great for function-filled versatility, it isn't likely Apple is going to play nice with Google Wallet, Windows Phone Wallet, or any other service with ties to a competitor. In all likelihood, smartphone users as a whole will have to sit through yet another format war where proprietary technologies battle it out until one victor emerges and everyone else adopts the format.
Hopefully, that won't be an issue when Apple finally introduces iOS widgets.
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