Today's dose of iPhone 5 rumour juice has to do with NFC – that contactless communication standard everyone seems to think is just for buying stuff easily.
With Android having adopted NFC support with Android 2.3 and a slew of handsets appearing with the technology on board, it's a no-brainer that Apple is following suit. But, says one analyst, in true Apple fashion it will take a “unique” approach to things.
We already knew NFC was coming to the iPhone – apart from it being an obvious next step, it was also confirmed as such by Deutsche Telekom at Mobile World Congress. However, in a note to investors late last week, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White repeated the story, but claimed Cupertino would be bringing an NFC solution to market that would be nothing like its' rivals.
So far, NFC has mainly been spoken about in relation to contactless payments for small items directly from your mobile phone. There have been some security concerns, but things are moving forwards: Visa, for example, has launched an NFC trial for iPhone users courtesy of a dedicated hardware add-on, while Orange says half of its own-branded smartphones will come with NFC-enabled SIM cards by the end of the year.
However, contactless payments are just the tip of the NFC iceberg. For example, a hotel in Sweden has started trialling a keyless room-entry system using NFC technology, while there are all kinds of location-based advertising and marketing possibilities too.
While we don't have any specifics on Apple's plans so far – and probably won't get any until its NFC system launches – it's likely that among other things the company is looking at commercial ad-based applications for the technology, potentially as part of the wider evolution of the MobileMe service we wrote about on the weekend.