Some weeks back, we reported that the iPhone 5 would come equipped with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, opening up the way for the new smartphone to offer wireless payments. The idea was to allow the use of iTunes gift card balances and the credit card info Apple already has from you to make swiping payments at compatible retail outlets. There was even talk of loyalty credits and points, to get you using its service instead of the competition. Sadly, it looks like Apple has changed its mind. For now, at least.According to the Independent, Apple will not be including NFC in its soon-to-be-launched iPhone 5. So if you want to do business with your handset, you'll have to look elsewhere. Not far either, most of the new higher-end Android phones are packing it, with BlackBerry handsets also rumored to be introducing it before the year is out.Sources at several of the largest mobile operators in the UK have apparently revealed that Apple has said, in meetings, that it would not be including NFC. One source 'close to the discussions' said: 'The new iPhone will not have NFC, Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry.'
However, it's not completely dead in the water. That iTunes-based system is still being worked on. Only now, it's being designed with an eye to adding to 2012's iPhone. Yes, the company is already planning iPhone 6, would you believe.Apple's hesistation is perhaps understandable. No one doubts the potential of NFC. Consulting group Frost & Sullivan believes payment values via NFC will hit €110bn by 2015. But the way those payments are delivered and collected is still far from being decided. That's unlikely to be sorted by this summer, but there's every chance that systems could be in place by the middle of 2012.