Apple's long said it's not interested in NFC, rolling out basic on-screen QR code stuff like PassBook instead. But a recent patent filing, for the ability to "gift" people things by bonking phones, shows Apple is actually looking at NFC. Does that mean the iPhone 5S and 5C will come packing the contactless tech? I hope so, because that'll be a very good thing for us all, regardless of who makes your phone.
Why would it be so good for non-Apple lovers too? It's one of those occasions where I hate to have to say this, but if Apple did NFC, then all our device-bonking dreams are much more likely to actually happen. It's all very well Android manufacturers putting NFC chips in their phones, but there needs to be some sort of consensus from the banks, the card companies, the networks, and the secure chip manufacturers before NFC payments and other bits and pieces can really take off.
If Apple slapped NFC chips and some sort of transfer system into the iPhone, you just know it'd be the kick in the pants everyone else in the transactional chain desperately needs.
Whether we'll end up with an Apple wallet or something like that, who knows. But either way, regardless of whether you're an iOS user or not, you should be excited about the prospect of Apple finally joining the contactless bandwagon. NFC in our phones is about the most exciting technology we've got going right now, and it's pretty much stalled in the UK as far as consumers are concerned. [USPTO via The Register]