Report: Apple Might Finally Embrace NFC With iPhone 6

After years of ignoring the promise of NFC, Apple may finally be ready to take the plunge—and one of its major applications may include mobile payments. Sources familiar with Apple's new payment plan spoke with Wired saying that the feature will be included in the new iPhone 6 when it is revealed on Sept. 9th.

This corroborates a report yesterday by Business Insider, which unearthed a Cupertino patent that details the backend architecture of what could be Apple's upcoming e-wallet ambitions. It only makes sense considering how pretty much all its users are financially entangled with its iTunes Store already. Of course, there's also Apple's push into brick-and-mortar stores with iBeacon, low-power Bluetooth transmitters which offer a digital-powered shopping experience. It's safe to assume that if Apple's mobile payment plans to come baked into the iPhone 6, iBeacon will also play its part.

The safe bet would be to accept these rumors with a bit of caution. When the 5s and 5c debuted around this time last year, it was lauded (and justly so) for many improvements over its predecessor, but its curmudgeonly approach to dismissing NFC was not one of them. This go around, the evidence is more pervasive, both in analyst predictions, news leaks, and logic board breakdowns.

NFC could also have other implications for the upcoming iPhone 6 as an easy way to pair companion devices, such as the rumored upcoming iWatch or Bluetooth speakers, or to create simple NFC tags. You know, just the general uses for NFC we've seen for the past five or six years.

But right now, it's seems the most talk surrounding Apple's NFC plans involves an e-wallet system. The company will join in with Google, which launched its e-wallet service in 2011, on trying to make an effective and secure mobile payment solution. Wired alludes to previous Apple patents saying sensitive data will be stored in a "secure element" on the iPhone 6, that users can complete transactions via NFC and Bluetooth, and the payment system is also contextually aware, meaning you can get discounts or other offers while in a store. Rumors that Apple has been ramping up talks with retailers could mean we could see a collection of partnership announcements on Sept. 9th as well.

Apple will join the mobile commerce fray with established stalwarts like Google Wallet and Square, and while the company would be getting a late start, nothing will get them caught up quite as quickly as a new iPhone or two. [Wired]