Another iPhone, Another NFC Rumor 

June 28, 2012

Rumors persist that Apple’s iPhone 5 will include support for NFC payments. An Apple-centric blog reported that code pulled from Pre-EVT (Engineering Verification Testing) iPhone prototypes suggests the devices will carry NFC chips and antennae. A new iPhone including NFC is a story the public has heard before in the months preceding introduction. Whether it happens now or in the future, however, has significant implications for the widespread adoption of contactless payments using a mobile device, says Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group, a Denver-area payments consultancy.

“We’ve heard these rumors before, but there seems to be additional credibility this time,” Ablowitz says. “Apple will have NFC when they determine the time is right for it. We’ll see soon enough whether that’s this time or not.”

When the time does come, Ablowitz says, the timeline for adoption of NFC-based payments, which has seen years of delays after initial excitement, will rapidly accelerate. Even then, though, we are years away from pulling our phones out of our pockets to make most of our purchases.

“Once Apple has NFC, the rest of the world has NFC that afternoon,” he notes. “It doesn’t mean you and I will go out and pay for a week’s worth of spending with our iPhone the next day. It will take many years to get implemented in a way that will displace anything. But, when you see Apple happen, today or in two years, that will be the day you know NFC has arrived.”