For as long as we can remember there’s always been a rumor floating around that the iPhone 5 would get near field communication (NFC) support. Just like Apple practically invented the tablet industry overnight, many were hoping that the iPhone 5 would make 2011 the year that NFC finally took off. News coming from The Independent however suggests that we may have to wait just a little bit longer to wave our Jesus Phone at the checkout counter. They say that Apple has been in talks with operators, and that they’re concerned that there is no “clear standard across the industry” for making NFC work. Cupertino has a point. While the GSMA, the folks who maintain the GSM standard after inventing it some 30 odd years ago, back mobile phones that support the single wire protocol (SWP), which links the NFC element inside your smartphone directly to your SIM card, operators around the world have been trying all sorts of crazy things such as NFC enabled SIM cards or stickers you can place on the phone you already have in your pocket.
Something about this story doesn’t sit well with us however. Apple never really waits for an industry to agree on a set of standards, they just build something they think will take off, release it, and then the rest of the mobile world works furiously to catch up. Near Field payments are going to launch this year in both the UK and France, and we’re not talking about a test network either. Massive deployments have been committed to because “the industry” is tired of waiting for companies to get with the program. No, we think Apple isn’t going to put NFC inside the next iPhone because doing so would make the device too expensive and it would require a redesign due to the additional antenna in the back.
There’s always iPhone 6.