iPhone 5 May Get iWallet NFC Functions After All

The capability to use an iPhone to pay for goods wirelessly could show up in the iPhone 5 after all. On Monday reports said that Apple changed its mind about incorporating Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone due to lack of a universal standard, but now sources told Forbes otherwise.

The rumors of NFC technology in the iPhone 5 originated in January from Bloomberg, which said that Apple is incorporating NFC technology in the iPad 2 as well as in the iPhone 5. The iPad 2 is now available, but NFC is not present.

Earlier this week, the U.K.'s The Independent reported sources at "several of the largest mobile operators in the U.K." said Apple disclosed in meetings that NFC won't be on the feature list of the next iPhone, expected in June or July.

A lack of a clear standard across the industry is to blame for NFC's exclusion from the upcoming iPhone, the paper reported. Instead, Apple is rumored to be working on its own adaptation of NFC, allowing users to link payments through iTunes when waving the phone in front of a dedicated NFC reader. However, that won't happen until the next-generation iPhone, sometime in 2012.

Demo of an iPhone NFC operation. Photo: Visa
But iPhone 5 NFC rumors are in full swing again, this time courtesy of Forbes. According to the magazine, an entrepreneur who is working on a "top-secret NFC product" said he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information.

The entrepreneur also said that manufacturers of NFC readers expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC, so they are gearing up for the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring. However, we won't know whether the iPhone 5 will have NFC until Apple actually introduces the new device.

NFC made its debut last year when Google introduced the technology on its Nexus S Android phone. NFC uses a combination of hardware and software to let you essentially turn your phone into a wallet and simply wave the device in front of a retailer's sensor and have your purchase immediately placed onto your credit card or banking account.

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