Will iPhone 5 have NFC ‘contactless’ capability?

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Among the hottest debates swirling on the Web about Apple’s forthcoming iPhone, dubbed the iPhone 5, is whether it will or won’t include a wireless technology called Near Field Communication (NFC).

NFC, which allows for ‘contactless’ communication between phones and special readers, has been touted as a technology with a vast array of practical applications. One use much bandied about is ‘tap and go’ pay with smartphones, which could eliminate the need for a bulky billfold full of credit cards. Another is ‘tap and go’ on buses and subways (no more scrambling around for your pass as the train pulls away).


Enthusiasts have even suggested a world in which movie posters and restaurant menus are tagged with additional information available to the curious with a wave of their phones. So when a recent article in the U.K.’s The Independent, citing anonymous sources, reported that Apple decided not to include NFC chips in the latest iteration of its yet-to-be-released iPhone, the news caused something of an Internet frenzy.

That news was countered Thursday by a Forbes blog post which said the jury was still out on Apple including NFC and cited an anonymous entrepeneur with a friend who works at the always-secretive tech company.

Of course, there’s always the chance that an Apple employee will tie one on and leave another iPhone prototype in a Silicon Valley bar. Last spring, Apple engineer Gray Powell forgot an unmarked iPhone 4 prototype in Redwood City. The student who found it ultimately sold it for $5,000 to gadget blog Gizmodo.

Correction: Earlier post incorrectly identified the Apple engineer as Robert Powell.


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--Shan Li