The next-generation iPhone in 2012 may include NFC support, according to DigiTimes.
NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is a low-energy, short-proximity-based method of making monetary transactions.
Essentially, it allows you to pay for purchases by waving your phone very close to a reading device instead of having to use a credit card or other method of payment. NFC-enabled phones have been becoming more and more common and there is a major push to make this a standard for payment.
DigiTimes reports that Apple plans to include NFC support in iOS in 2012:
As Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Bada have supported NFC (near field communication) functions and Microsoft and Apple plan to make Windows Phone and iOS support NFC in 2012, the proportion of NFC-enabled smartphones will quickly increase from less than 10% currently to over 50% in two to three years, according to Taiwan-based smartphone makers.
The adoption has been unsteady, to say the least. This was largely due to different methods of standardization and not technological problems. However, the GSM Association has been promoting a SIM-based NFC standard that over 45 carriers have shown support for globally. This includes both AT&T and Verizon in the US, the two top carriers in the US and both of whom carry Apple’s iPhone.
We heard rumors earlier this year that said that the 2011 iPhone would include NFC support, but as we’ve found out, Apple’s iPhone 4S lacked it. However, when we caught wind of this change back in May, we mentioned that some sources predicted it would be included in the 2012 iPhone.
It’s unclear whether the delay was due to cost, production issues, or because of the NFC standardization problems, but it appears that Apple is gearing towards support of this revolutionary payment technology. DigiTimes predicts that the technology will have more than 50% penetration in the smartphone market in just 2-3 years, and Apple’s involvement would play a very important role in that endeavor.