Apple could become a payment processor by the end of the year, leveraging the hundreds of millions of iTunes accounts with credit cards tied to them.
NFC would also allow iPhone 5 owners to quickly swap files between one another.
The Cupertino giant also has the Passbook application now (soon to become available in iOS 6). Passbook is an eWallet app that lets you scan your iPhone or iPod touch to use a coupon, check into your hotel, and even get into a rock concert.
9to5 quotes Jim Peters, CTO of SITA, who is not only convinced that NFC is coming to the next-generation iPhone, but that competitors should look out.
Retailers, on the other hand, should get prepared to leverage the technology, he says.
“Opinion is that Apple is going to incorporate NFC into Passbook. Apple just thinks about how they can make it really easy for the user, and then they figure out how to monetise it. They don’t think about how to monetise it and then tell the user what they can have. It doesn’t work like that,” said Peters.
“There aren’t any transactions in it yet, but I think that’s how Apple is going to sneak up on the industry. They are going to get people used to using it and then all of a sudden they will allow credit cards to be used in there, on the next iPhone, which will include NFC.”
He continued, pointing out to the debate surrounding NFC and how it might never take off, "but," Peter argues, "you need to get ready, this is coming."
"This is going to happen. By the end of the year the majority of smartphones that you go and buy will have NFC on them. If in October the next iPhone comes out and it has NFC on it, it’s game over,” he said.
Apple is expected to unveil its next generation of smartphones at a special event this fall (September-October). The release should be accompanied by iOS 6, the upcoming version of the company’s mobile operating system.