Apple NFC (Near Field Communication) rumors have been reported for over a year now, and while the iPhone 4S shipped without RFID technology of any kind, a recent interview with MasterCard's Ed McLaughlin hints Apple might still be getting into the mobile transaction game. McLaughlin said that he didn't know a handset manufacturer who wasn't working to  integrate PayPass via NFC in their phones. When prodded about Apple, Ed shied away, and said he couldn't mention partners by name, but did go on to say "Anytime someone with a major base moves forward, it advances what you're doing" when asked if Apple was a vital part of pushing contactless payments into the mainstream. Of course, stores also have to provide support on their end. McLaughlin said, "I think as merchants provide these better interfaces for consumers--a better way of transacting--I think any consumer-focused technology provider would want to take advantage of it."

We've heard plenty of rumours floating around about Apple including NFC in the next iPhone, and MasterCard themselves have been pretty aggressive in enabling it through a separate accessory. NFC was an expectation for the iPhone 4S, but seeing as there still isn't a lot of widespread support for Google Wallet, maybe it will take a big player like MasterCard to really get mobile NFC rolling. It seems like smartphone manufacturers are more than happy to put NFC in their devices, but if common sensors like PayPass aren't ubiquitous, it won't be a selling point for consumers, and those manufacturers will just cut the feature to save on manufacturing costs.

RIM is already all-in with MasterCard's NFC standard, and if Apple is too, maybe 2012 will actually end up being the year this stuff catches on. Let's put it this way - if the iPhone 5 doesn't have NFC built into it, would you consider switching platforms so you could get on the NFC payments bandwagon?

Source: Fast Company