iPhone 5 NFC: Yes, no, maybe so?!

There have been a lot of conflicting rumors this week about the unannounced iPhone 5 and its so far imaginary new NFC feature, including that it wouldn't have said imaginary feature, it would indeed have it, and it would have it and then some. Dizzy yet? You will be...

The Independent first said iPhone 5 (which doesn't yet exist) wouldn't have NFC (which Apple has never announced):

"The new iPhone will not have NFC, Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry." Yet Apple is understood to be working on its own NFC proposition, which would link payments through iTunes. It hopes to introduce the technology in a handset likely to be released next year.

So we'll have to wait for iPhone 6 (which also doesn't yet exist) to NFC? Not so fast says Forbes, which cites a friend of an entrepreneur (no names!):

An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information. To further bolster his statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – whom he has been talking to for his own product – also expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC.

Then along comes Cult of Mac to throw even more rumor on the mill:

Apple is working on a system that allows users to log into another computer using an NFC-equipped iPhone. The iPhone pairs with the host machine, and loads the user’s files and settings over the net. It’s as though the user is sitting at their own machine at home. [When] a NFC-equipped iPhone is paired with a guest machine, part of the user’s profile includes the apps they’ve purchased through the Mac App Store. The icons for their apps appear on the remote Mac, but aren’t downloaded, our source said.

Giving us access to our Mac apps if we so wish sounds great but given the back and forth on the rumors, do you think we'll really get it come June?

[The Independent, Forbes, Cult of Mac]

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

iPhone 5 NFC: Yes, no, maybe so?!


Wow, I'm surprised there are no comments on this. When living in Asia, I saw NFC pretty well adopted, especially in Singapore. Quite often you do not even need to take your card or device out of whatever you are carrying it in (like a wallet or purse): just hold it up to the scanner, it beeps, and you're good to go!. I love it, but the West has been late adopters for this sort of tech.
I always wonder about high tech thieves and what safety measures are in place.
Cult of Mac's rumor is interesting, but this implies that PCs (or macs) must have software systems being developed and tested (by June???) to allow such cloud access to take place. Ok, you go to a PC, you wave your iPhone over some NFC pad: there must be a server somewhere (maybe the NC data center?) and there must be software on the PC/Mac to render things properly too. I cant see using GoToMeeting for this.
I know that AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have a joint project to create an NFC standard (I wrote an article about it last year hehehe), but it is no where near ready.
I think things will happen with iPhone 6. By June there will be too few places in the West to use this tech. Asia is quite ready for it, but as the bulk of users are in the West, Apple may just wait for a better standard to come forth.

I say no. Apple will find a way to say they invented it and how its "magical" and want 30/70 split from it. By then we will have something better then NFC.

NFC doesn't really interest me. I will still have to carry a wallet for ID, insurance cards etc. So there's no real benefit for me.

Maybe you won't. When the police asks for your drivers license, you wave your phone in front of their reader and they get your drivers license or ID on the screen (on their device). As long as the police, insurance companies and stores implement it, you won't need your wallet ever again.

i would never buy a device where coming near something charges you to an account , thank you very little. dont need cell phone carriers and computer companies becoming banks at all ever

You do realize that you will be able to not use the feature? Also, even if you use it, it's probably gonna need a confirmation or password beforecharging you anything.

i cant wait for this to hit , i have a nexus s and believe its the future. using your nfc is actually more secure than a card if you think about all the things you could use for security purposes, gps to locate if you loose your phone or to track where purchases are made, you put a pin in to use it, i can think of dozens of ways that they could secure a phone better than a card. plus the possibilities are endless, they are making nfc door locks,vending machines, ect.... bring on the future

My paper “” now in the talks highly about the “Near field Communication” NFC chips in the future cell phones and its great importance to society to get rid of corruption. In the coming days or years the NFC gradually going replace the Cash money and eventually completely get rid of the Cash money (currency). It is necessary that the devices (cell-phones) having NFC must also importantly should have the Biometric Identity crucially for security reason to prevent cyber crimes but most importantly to prevent these people becoming target of all sorts of crimes like fraud, theft, mugging, burglary, robbery etc, even from getting murdered for the money. There should be a limit to the amount of money these NFC’s can hold and these cell phones need to be equipped with the internet connection so the money can be transferred (deposited and withdrawn) online from the persons bank account to the NFC while its transaction data details gets downloaded and recorded in the banks digital data storage. In short, this will make sure every money transaction between people, licit as well illicit gets recorded in the banks providing concrete evidence of any such economic crimes any times afterwards. This in turn will most effectively deter people from indulging in all kinds of corruptions and crimes as a whole.
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Great article! I think future cell phones may be imbedded under the skin or something like that..scary to consider but tech is increasing so fast. We already put them in he ear, why not go further.