Pity Apple didn’t come to the party with NFC in the iPhone 5 as that would have driven the innovation from app developers and given the mobile payment market the impetus it needs. Passbook, as useful as it will be in iOS 6, will not be enough to cover mobile payment requirements.
Originally posted on Gigaom:
UPDATED: As with most of the rumors about the iPhone 5, Apple’s (s aapl) decision to forgo near field communication (NFC) for its latest smartphone proved true as well. It’s not surprising though it deals a setback to the short-range wireless technology, which is still waiting for its breakout moment.
Apple had plenty of reasons not to include NFC. With its focus on getting the device as thin and light as possible, adding an NFC chip would have been that much more of an impediment. And more likely, Apple is not convinced now is the time to adopt it. While we’re seeing NFC appear in more high-end phones, like the Galaxy S III and Nokia 920 (s nok), consumers don’t have many applications and use cases for the technology and merchants still need to make more investments in hardware to handle NFC payments.
We’ve suggested that Apple could be a big catalyst for NFC and mobile payments if it embraced the technology. Equipping the most popular phone with NFC would have a been huge education moment for consumers and a big validation for NFC. Developers could also get on board and create some really interesting apps with Apple’s encouragement. And with its upcoming Passbook application in iOS 6, which aggregates tickets, loyalty and pre-payment cards, Apple could have an easy way to apply NFC technology in the iPhone 5.