According to a report from 9to5Mac, the new iPhone 5 will include support for NFC or ‘near field communications’. This based on data dumps received from iPhone 5, 1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes. While Apple provided a glimpse of features in iOS 6, it’s not uncommon to see key software features left out of the beta release. Most notably, iOS 5 in beta did not include Siri, the biggest feature of iOS 5 and the main selling point of the iPhone 4S. If Apple includes NFC chips in the iPhone 5, then an Apple ‘Wallet’ feature could be front and center, sharing the spotlight with the new Maps app.
Apple’s Passbook app in iOS 6 brings all of your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons and loyalty cards into one place. When arriving at a location, these appear directly in the lock screen. The only missing part would be the ability to pay with your iPhone. With NFC chips in the new iPhone, we could see Passbook’s feature set expanded to offer true wallet capabiliity. Both Google and Microsoft have similar payment systems. Google’s Wallet feature is available now, but has seen limited traction. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 will provide support for wallet features using a secure SIM, coming to the US sometime in 2013.
Through iTunes, Apple already has credit card information. When they do decide to implement a wallet feature, it will be interesting to see how they handle payments and security.
Are you ready to leave your wallet at home and carry just your iPhone?