For many common users the iPhone has just about reached its limit of features. After the newest incarnation of the iOS it seemed that it was hard to create new elements after Siri, Reminders, and social networking integration, but the growing needs of an integrated mobile community are raising their level of demands. Many users have been asking for, and expecting, the ability to initiate mobile payments via an outside piece of technology. Recent pics of the iPhone 5 saw an undisclosed part that many people had identified as a near-field communication chip, also called an NFC chip.
This was not just the speculation of a few bloggers, but a very common iPhone 5 rumor in that it would satisfy some of the main expectations for a device that intends to be dramatically different than the previous two models. Passbook, the tick and coupon organizer announced for the iOS 6, seemed to perfectly tie into this model as well.
Now AnandTech, the popular computer website and blog, has countered and pulled out the hope for the iPhone 5 actually employing NFC chips. They have pointed out that with its flat backed design it would put the NFC chip on the top or bottom of the device and make alignment with different cell phones somewhat difficult. This lacks the “Apple-like level of polish,” which is quite a good point for anyone that has watched the Apple design trajectory. Passbook itself hasn’t show whether or not it actually intended to use NFC since it could easily just go for Bluetooth, or something even more low-tech.
There still is not a concrete answer for what the unlabeled iPhone part would be if not an NFC chip. AnandTech has suggested that it could be a “touch and display controller,” but that does not fully explain it either. The NFC chip may be a difficulty for regular operations and there has not been a concrete commercial shift profound enough to require it, so we may be waiting for it from iPhone 6. Or iPhone 5s, given the recent release history.