Though rumors about the next iPhone, expected to be released this summer, have consistently contained mentions of near field communication technology, The New York Times has confirmed that Apple has indeed been working on the feature, though how soon it may debut is still up for speculation.
The information comes to the paper from two people who say they have knowledge of the inner-workings of a future version of Apple's iPhone. Apparently, Qualcomm will produce an NFC chip to be included on the iPhone's processor, allowing people to simply scan their iPhone near a qualifying NFC reader to make quick payments on the go.
"One person familiar with the new Apple feature said the phone's credit card information would be tied to information currently used on iTunes, which would make it simple for customers to set up the new mobile payment method on the iPhone."
For many, near field communications is being touted as the next step in mobile technology and it would seem Apple wants to be at the forefront of that revolution. Steve Jobs often touts the 200 million-plus credit cards Apple retains for its iTunes accounts, all of which could be easily integrated to iOS devices sporting NFC technology.
It is entirely possible that NFC is still too new for Apple's traditionally conservative adoption policy to add to the iPhone 5 this summer. Reports of Google and Microsoft exploring the technology have surfaced though, which may or may not give Apple enough incentive to be among the first to market with NFC-enabled devices here in the U.S.
There is also the issue of where iPhone users could take advantage of an NFC-enabled iPhone. Do you know where you could? I can't think of a place offhand.
Is NFC technology a must-have for iPhone 5 this summer, or can it wait? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!