Here’s an interesting theory from Macotakara, riffing on photos highlighted by Apple.pro last week: the square chip seen at the top of the next iPhone, to the right of the built-in iSight camera, could be an NFC chip. In fact, it looks exactly the same size as one.
It certainly makes sense. Code references to NFC within the iOS 6 beta have already been found. In addition, with iOS 6, Apple is laying the groundwork for what could become an NFC payment system with their new app, Passbook. Even though the Passbook app right now is meant as a sort of e-wallet for traditionally purchased tickets and loyalty cards, it’s not hard to imagine how Apple could fairly easily expand the functionality of Passbook to encompass payments if the next iPhone had the proper tech.
If the next iPhone does have an NFC chip, you could do everything from pay for groceries, board a plane or buy a ticket on the bus just by swiping your smartphone… as long as Apple was successful in luring enough partners onboard, which it may have a hard time doing if it insists on its customary 70/30 split.
I like this theory, though: Passbook will work on any device capable of running iOS 6 as a useful e-wallet, but that e-wallet will only have money in it if you have an iPhone 5. What do you think?