The iPhone 5 will/won't be a mobile payment platform
Thursday, Mar 17, 2011

A month ago, the Boy Genius Report reported:

In a note to investors on Thursday, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White reiterated a rumor that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will include integrated NFC capabilities. The rumor was essentially confirmed by European carrier Deutsche Telekom at Mobile World Congress earlier this week when the company stated that it will offer an NFC-enabled iPhone in the first half of this year. Interestingly, however, White also noted that his sources indicate the iPhone 5′s NFC capabilities will feature a “twist” that will differentiate the device from its competition.

Last Monday, from The Independent (UK):

Apple will not include "wave and pay" chips in the new iPhone to be released later this year, dashing industry hopes that a universal standard for the technology would be adopted in 2011.

Sources at several of the largest mobile operators in the UK revealed Apple had disclosed in meetings that it would not be including Near Field Communication (NFC) technology – which enables payment for products with a wave of your phone on a reader – in the latest version of the iPhone, be it the iPhone 4GS or the iPhone 5.

Today, from Forbes:

From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information.

Forbes hardly offers an iron-clad NFC confirmation, but The Independent's denial story always seemed fishy to me. My guess is that the 'twist' BGR alludes to is that Apple may be readying the first native mobile payment platform to deny the carrier a juicy cut of the transaction. If that's the case, it's understandable why they wouldn't be eager to pre-brief most of their carriers.

PS: Did anyone wonder during the iPad 2 event about Steve's casual mention that Apple has the largest credit card database outside Amazon, with 200mm active users?

PPS: If the iPhone 5 gets an NFC chip in June, you can count on the iPod Touch getting one in September.

PPPS: June? Japan's troubles might push the iPhone release back a month or two. Analysts are already speculating that iPad production may be constrained by the availability of glass screens and custom battery components, both of which appear to be sourced for the iPad by Japanese suppliers.

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