Apple has long resisted adding NFC to the iPhone, but it appears the company will finally be embracing the technology as part of a huge push into mobile payments planned to coincide with the launch of iPhone 6. Wired reports that Apple's next smartphone(s) will feature an all-new mobile payments platform that will compete directly with Google Wallet, the carrier-backed Isis service (which is still due to undergo a rebranding), and other alternatives.
NFC — short for Near Field Communication — will reportedly be part of that strategy, though other specifics about Apple's plan to help consumers replace their wallets with iPhone remain unclear. In July, The Information reported that Apple was actively holding talks with credit card companies and banks regarding its mobile payment ambitions, with one source saying Visa had signed on to support the effort. That report also indicated NFC will factor into Apple's approach, and purported iPhone 6 schematics hint that the necessary hardware will be there.
Just about every company in the mobile payments market has struggled to break through and gain mainstream pickup among smartphone owners. You need only look at all the changes Google Wallet has undergone in recent years for proof of that. But Apple could find itself in a strong position out of the gate thanks to the massive database of financial data it's already amassed through iTunes and the App Store. And then there's Touch ID, Apple's security feature that was designed with mobile payments in mind, according to Tim Cook. Whatever the company is working on, it'll have to be absolutely seamless, simple, and intuitive to rise above a crowded field of competitors. Many would consider those to be three of Apple's strengths, so — assuming the rumors pan out — it'll be interesting to see Cupertino's grand vision for mobile payments come September 9th.