iPad 2, iPhone 5 to include NFC, Apple to become massive money machine?

Bloomberg citing an analyst citing "engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project" reports that Apple will be including NFC (Near-Field Communications) technology in their upcoming iPad 2 and iPhone 5 product revisions, along with the killer iTunes Store transactional system to back it up.

The main goal for Apple would be to get a piece of the $6.2 trillion Americans spend each year on goods and services, Crone said. Today, the company pays credit-card processing fees on every purchase from iTunes. By encouraging consumers to use cheaper methods -- such as tapping their bank accounts directly, which is how many purchases are made via PayPal -- Apple could cut its own costs and those of retailers selling Apple products.

NFC is an RFID-related technology that allows for secure, close range data transfer including but not limited to payment information. Google has already begun including NFC in their Nexus S Android handset though they lack an iTunes-like infrastructure with millions of active, international users to bolt it onto. Similarly traditional credit card companies and other online checkout systems like PayPal lack incredibly popular consumer electronic devices as front ends.

The report also claims Apple is exploring loyalty/rewards/referral programs, tying in iAds to NFC data, and even offering subsidized or free processing terminals to small retailers to blow out deployment.

While not all of this may turn out to be accurate or true, if Apple can accomplish an NFC front end to an enhanced iTunes payment system it could redefine yet another industry and potentially its largest ever.

Are you ready for a future that's cash, credit, or iTunes?