Did Apple Intentionally Avoid NFC?

Apple revealed from its clear plastic shroud its newest of the iPhone line, the iPhone 5. with it came the addition of a larger 4 inch screen LTE as well as new radios to improve wifi and a few other incremental improvements. One feature missing however is the addition of NFC.

Apple is working on its own services like Passbook that would replace the need to carry around things such as tickets, coupons, bus passes, gift cards, and probably a lot more as people begin to see value in it. You would think that something as ambitious as this would gain from having NFC, so why did they avoid it?

Its no secret that Google is working on expanding its NFC support and OEMs are adding it more and more, with different services like Google Wallet and file sharing, among other applications growing the potential.

The Question I have is this, would Apple stay away from releasing a product with technology, if such adoption could directly influence and help competitors like Android?