The next generation iPhone, which may or may not be called the iPhone 4S (I’m thinking iPhone 5), is drawing near and rumors are getting more intense. Earlier today, we heard a rumor that says the new Apple smartphone’s screen will reach from edge-to-edge and will no longer have a bezel. Additionally, the camera flash has been relocated to the upper-right corner of the back of the phone, away from the camera lens itself. Now we’re hearing that it won’t have NFC, which is sort of a bummer for anyone who actually cares about NFC.
NFC, or near-field communications, allows smartphones or NFC-enabled devices to make purchases and other sorts of transactions just by being in proximity with each other (i.e. purchasing coffee at a cafe, or metro cards at a kiosk simply by waving a phone near a receiver). It has been rumored for a few years now that the iPhone would have NFC chips by 2011, but it seems that the only device being shipped with NFC-capabilities built right in these days is the Samsung Nexus S by Google.
Also, Bernstein says NFC can add $15-$30 billion in incremental revenue for high end mobile companies. Apple, with 20% of the high end mobile market, could end up with $4-$9 billion in extra revenue. We don’t have the full report, so we’re not sure how Bernstein comes up with those numbers.
Perhaps Apple sees something that these research firms don’t, but it’d be hard to imagine Steve Jobs & Co. to ignore a potentially lucrative business. As it stands, however, NFC still has a long way to go in the U.S., so perhaps it makes sense that the next iPhone won’t have the embedded chips. This makes us even more curious and antsy for WWDC 2011, which will be kicking off in just 3 short weeks, and hopefully it will put an end to all these iPhone rumors. If the new smartphone isn’t announced, however, we’ll be in for a long haul full of sensational and sometimes nonsensical rumors. Oy.