Apple iPhone 5 Sans NFC Mobile Payments on Launch

By Staff Reporter , Updated Jul 07, 2012 10:48 PM EDT

An ongoing rumor the Apple's new iPhone 5 will integrate near field communication (NFC) features and allowing the smartphone to be a digital wallet may not make the cut on release day. 

According to reports from Wall Street Journal, Apple expressed their desire to hold off on the NFC development before jumping into the market.  Known for innovation and taking the lead on many of its products and services, Apple plans to opt out on this function and enter once consumers adopt the new technology. 

Last month, Apple successfully was granted from the United States Trademark & Patent Office, an NFC related patent called "iWallet." Apple's iWallet is speculated to utilize NFC for keeping track and controlling financial transactions through the iPhone.  It would also allow the ability to gift iTunes with fellow users.  With NFC, users can have instant digital communication through  a simple touch or placing devices in close proximity of one another.  An NFC chip can be integrated into phones or devices to allow digital interaction. 

The move appeared to be a direct response to rival Google's own NFC solution "Google Wallet," who has already stepped ahead with major credit card companies.  Rather than move forward with iWallet, Apple will put its focus on a recently launched iOS app called Passbook, which collects coupons, gift cards, and plane tickets. 

Phil Schiller, Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, said that their competitors are "all fighting over their piece of the pie, and we aren't doing that."

Google Wallet along with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are all developing its own solutions.  Apple currently holds over 400 million credit card accounts through its iTunes and iPhone customers.  The advantage can allow the company to "come  out singing" once the time is right, added The Wall Street Journal.

"What [Apple] essentially [has] is everything you would store in a physical wallet apart from the cards," said Nick Holland of the Yankee Group when commenting about Passbook. "I imagine Apple will layer physical world payments as a future capability," added Holland.

Another drawback of NFC technologies is its great use of battery power.  Having the new feature could drain quite a bit of the iPhone's battery.  Apple has been working to make the iPhone 5's battery as long lasting as possible. 

Other potential hurdles may be the downloadable digital media protected with various copyrights and digital media rights has limited its distribution. Apple's NFC technology's intention is to ensure that copyright and transfer of digital contents are still intact so that owners will still receive their due for sales on the media content.

Other rumored features for the iPhone 5 includes  a 4.8-inch screen larger screen, new iOS 6 with Apple's own mapping service, internal hardware powered by a 1.4GHz Exynos 4 Quad processor, a 19-pin port for charging, replaceable camera lens, and 4G LTE Connectivity.

No confirmed release date has been announced though it is speculated that the new iPhone 5 will be released alongside the new iOS 6 this fall.


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