NFC has been touted as the next big thing for years but it's only in recent months that it's started to gain momentum with the likes of BlackBerry, Nokia and Samsung chucking it into new handsets.
What it really needs is a big buy in from, say, Apple, to bring it to the masses (and probably make the world think Cupertino invented the technology if past experiences are anything to go by). Funny that, because the latest rumours are suggesting that Apple will indeed launch an NFC-equipped iPhone next year.
It's all squirreled away in the wording of a report on DigiTimes which mentions Apple among other manufacturers as part of a piece on the take-up of NFC as a whole:
"As Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Bada have supported NFC (near field communication) functions and Microsoft and Apple plan to make Windows Phone and iOS support NFC in 2012, the proportion of NFC-enabled smartphones will quickly increase from less than 10% currently to over 50% in two to three years, according to Taiwan-based smartphone makers."
The whole issue with NFC is it needs major buy in from third parties to really gain some traction. We tried it four years ago when O2 was touting it as the next big thing on an older Nokia handset and showing us how we could use it as an Oyster card for the London Underground or swipe it in Pret-a-Manger to grab a sandwich in a hurry.
Since then NFC has built some momentum as a short-range device-to-device communication standard for transferring photos, contacts and the like or connecting to compatible accessories. And while nobody can doubt it's effective, it's the necessary subscription from the banks, the stores and other businesses that will really push the technology to the next level.
Could Apple succeed where others have failed? Stay tuned for iPhone 5. Hang on, haven't we heard that before?