Apple has, until now at least, steadfastly avoided putting NFC (near field communications) chips in its mobile devices, despite its apparent popularity with Android manufacturers.
NFC has been at the ‘early adopter’ stage for a few years and Apple’s reluctance to join the party was thought to be down to a combination of NFC’s drain on battery power, the fact that it’s maximum range is 20cm (though its most effective under 4cm), and that it offers little that can’t be achieved with Bluetooth 4. Indeed, Apple’s Bluetooth-based iBeacon had been assumed to be its preferred technology for any mobile payments system it may introduce.
According to Wired, however, Apple may have decided the time is now right to adopt NFC. ‘The company’s next iPhone will feature its own payment platform, sources familiar with the matter told WIRED. In fact, that platform will be one of the hallmark features of the device when it’s unveiled on September 9. We’re told the solution will involve NFC,’ it reported.