Apple 'working on NFC for iPhone 5'

Multiple sources strongly suggest contactless payment coming

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Reports suggesting Apple is to bring near-field communications (NFC) functionality to its next iPhone have surfaced.

We are expecting the iPhone 5 to be announced later this year and according Mastercard and app developers, Apple is busy working on NFC technology.

9to5Mac claims to have spoken with the well-connected developer at Macworld who disclosed information received from Apple iOS engineers saying they are "heavily into NFC".

The developer in question has not been named, but is working on a dedicated iOS app which includes NFC reading for mobile transactions. When questioned how confident he was on the information he had received his reply was "Enough to bet the app development on".

The plot thickens

If Apple is working towards a NFC solution, a payment systems partner will be required and the Fast Company may have sourced the company in question.

In an interview with Ed McLaughlin, head of emerging payments at MasterCard, hints were dropped that Apple is working on NFC technology.

When asked to "estimate for when smartphone payments would become commonplace" McLaughlin replied "I don't know of a handset manufacturer that isn't in process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready".

When pushed to disclose whether the Cupertino based company was included, McLaughlin responded "like I say, [I don't know of] any handset maker out there [who are not in the process]".

McLaughlin ensured he did not mention any brands (including Apple) during his interview, but you get the feeling that his answers we carefully formed so not to mention any company.

If these reports are to be believed, we are likely to see the iPhone 5 rocking NFC technology later this year, in a potential summer launch.

Are you all for waving goodbye to cards and cash, or does NFC excite you as much as a four hour lecture on the inner beauty of man-hole covers?

From Fast Company and 9to5Mac