Techcrunch ran a series of leaked photos earlier today that provide the clearest indication so far that Apple’s iPhone 5 will likely include Near-Field Communications (NFC) as either an option or a standard feature. The photos depict a square element that the experts say is the likely NFC sensor. Rumor has it that Apple plans to announce the iPhone 5 on Septemeber 12. The past couple of years have seen a very gradual (and slight) market expansion of mobile-initiated payment implementations, with some (including Google Wallet) supporting cloud-based processes that bypass the need for either the mobile handset or the point of sale to be NFC-enabled.
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Apple’s traditionally been great at keeping its forthcoming products under wraps, but this pre-iPhone season has been particularly fruitful. If we take all the evidence provided and pair it up with common sense, NFC seems like a very real possibility. Sure, Apple normally waits until new technology has been proven by its competitors, but NFC-equipped phones have been on the market for a while, namely Apple’s greatest competition, the Samsung Galaxy S III.
With the inclusion of Passbook in iOS 6, I feel comfortable believing that Apple will implement NFC come September . Along with the rumored 4-inch screen (which feels all but confirmed), the strange two-tone back panel, and the new mini-dock, it would seem that this should be one of the more transformed iPhone models ever.