This is one of those rumors that will pop up each year until it’s true. The iPhone 5 will have Near Field Communication (NFC) support. This is typically used for mobile transactions. The phone usually becomes something of an electronic credit card.
The rumor comes from 9to5Mac, who spoke with a “well-connected” developer at Macworld who’s been working on an app the incorporates NFC reading. This isn’t a for sure thing, but the developer says that Apple’s iOS engineers have been “heavy into NFC.” Take that as you will. Even if Apple is heavy into NFC as the developer says, we don’t know whether it will be incorporated, or whether it will be in the way we are thinking. Still, they did ask him how confident he was in this, and his answer was good, “Enough to get the app development on.” Yeah, that’s right.
Then there is the talk FastCompany had with Ed McLaughlin. He is responsible for leading MasterCard in the right direction, and they have thought of several interesting ways to make credit card payments. One of them even includes a hacked Kinect. He says that he doesn’t know of any handset maker that isn’t working on making their device PayPass ready. FastCompany asked about Apple, and he said he couldn’t disclose discussions with any partners.
Nothing is known for sure yet, and it’s all rumor and speculation at this point. Still, we’ve heard enough about it to at least consider the possibility of it being real.