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The iPhone 4S is now three months old, which means the inevitable barrage of rumors and speculation will be hitting our screens in the coming weeks and months regarding future devices from Apple, especially the iPhone 5 and iPad 3. The rumor train shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering it happens with every product release, but as the Apple products gain more popularity around the world, the focus on the rumors intensifies.

Popular Apple intelligence site, 9to5Mac are reporting that a conversation between one of their reporters and a well-connected developer at the recent Macworld convention has led them to believe that the next-generation iPhone could contain near field communication, or NFC technology. The developer in question claimed to be building an application which contains the ability to process mobile transactions using the NFC technology, and although he has not officially provided information about the specification of any new hardware release but he believes that after talking to multiple Apple iOS engineers, they are heavily into near field communication.

NFC iPhone

Needless to say, the building of an in-depth application based purely on speculative hardware capabilities could prove to be a risky move. However, on the flipside of the argument, with the developer being confident enough developing the application; it could prove to be a very lucrative move if his hunch pays off.

This isn’t the first instance of people betting on an iPhone having near field communication abilities. Before the launch of the iPhone 4S, Bloomberg speculated that a soon to be released iPhone would feature the technology, and with NFC set to lead the way in the future of mobile payment technology it seems only a matter of time until Apple implements this.

iPhone 5 Patent

The smart money says that Apple, and other manufacturers will inevitably feature NFC technology in their devices, but that opens the door to another question – just who will partner with the Cupertino company for their payment systems? MasterCard are obviously a worldwide brand, and one of the biggest players in the financial services sector. Their emerging payments director, Ed McLaughlin is quoted as saying:

The timeline is always as rapid as it makes sense for consumers,” he says. “That’s a combination of having a critical mass of the merchants, which is what you’re seeing right now, and getting devices into the hands of consumers. I don’t know of a handset manufacturer that isn’t in process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready.”

Thanks to strong sales figures in the back end of 2011, Apple finished the final quarter as the world’s largest vendor of smartphone devices, meaning that alongside companies like Samsung; they are perfectly equipped to adopt the technology and drive the rest of the industry to do the same.

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