March 14, 2011

Although rumor had it that Apple would be getting into the mobile payments business this year, the company has reportedly told mobile operators in the U.K. that it will not include near field communication technology in the iPhone 4GS nor the iPhone 5.

The Independent quoted a source saying, "The new iPhone will not have NFC, Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry." The paper said Apple is working on its own version of contactless payment technology that would link payments through iTunes, that it hopes to introduce in a handset next year.

Meanwhile, Google's Nexus S does contain NFC technology. At the end of February, the GSMA, a group of mobile operators, announced a commitment to implementing near field communication technology and intention to launch commercial NFC services in select markets by 2012. The group vowed to develop the necessary certification and testing standards to ensure global interoperability of NFC services.

Apple recently submitted a detailed patent for an application that would process concert and event tickets. It would replace paper tickets with e-tickets, somewhat similar to airline e-tickets, that would be read at kiosks and turnstiles through near-field communication and paid for through iTunes. This indicates Apple's interest in creating its own path to mobile payments, rather than allowing mobile carriers to call the shots.

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