9to5Mac is reporting that they have taken a second look at hardware codes for the next-generation iPhone they had previously obtained, and have discovered that references to near field communication (NFC) capabilities.
NFC is a technology that allows for short-range wireless communication between other NFC equipped devices, with it being primarily used to facilitate contact-less payments. In other words, wave you phone at a chip reader, and your account is automatically deducted.
This technology has been rumored to be coming to iPhone for some time. Most significantly was The New York Times‘ claim that the technology would be coming to the iPhone sometime in the future. NFC didn’t make it’s way to the iPhone 4S last year, so speculation naturally suspected that it would be coming to the iPhone this year.
Lastly, it seems that Apple is getting the infrastructure in place for NFC in the form of Passbook, the new wallet app coming in iOS 6. As it stands, Passbook handles your boarding passes, movie tickets, gift cards, coupons and the like, all in one place on iOS. This feature can be activated merely by walking into a retailer who supports these services or has a retail app. It would seem only a natural evolution if NFC came along.
Many were disappointed by the announcements for iOS 6. I wasn’t so much, because, before anything was announced, I came to the realization that most of the low-hanging fruit had already been taken care of by Apple. Cut/Copy/Paste, “multitasking”, improved notifications, and other much-requested features, were knocked out in earlier releases. Now it is time for Apple to polish on what they have. Passbook is one of those items of polish.
I think Passbook is going to be the sleeper hit of iOS 6.The implications are huge. In the short term it could be an organizational tool for the end users, keeping all of their gift cards, and tickets all in one place, but as time moves forward, Apple has the potential to redefine commerce forever. NFC seems to be the next step in the Passbook process.