'Google Wallet' May Force Apple into NFC Territory Sooner Than Anticipated
For the last few months, we've been hearing a see-saw tale of whether Apple will implement NFC (near field communications) technology in the next-generation iPhone. At this point in time, only speculation - no hard evidence - exists to suggest that the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 will actually feature NFC technology. But that may soon change if Apple was paying close attention to what rival Google announced today.
On Thursday, Google announced that it's jumping head-first into the business of mobile payments with the new "Google Wallet" program, which is rooted in NFC. Google says its hoping to fuse the retail and mobile experience together in an effort to create "tomorrow's best shopping experience." The services will bring together coupons and discounts and payments simultaneously when people make purchases via their mobile device.
"Google Wallet combines offers and payments at the point of sale, makes it easy for partners and third-parties to create better consumer experiences, and drives brand new shopping experiences for everyone…Your phone will be your wallet. Just tap, pay and save," said Google’s VP of Commerce Stephanie Tilenius.
Earlier this month, Wall Street research firm Bernstein released commentary to investors effectively confirming (from its sources) that the new iPhone will be released sans the long-awaited, much anticipated NFC chip. But that was before Google made today's much bigger than expected announcement. This, coupled with the fact that by 2014, 50% of all smartphones will be NFC-enabled (150 million devices), it's pretty clear that Apple won't be able to dodge NFC for long if it wants to remain the industry-standard in cutting-edge mobile devices.
So is NFC in Apple's immediate future? If it is, there's a good chance we'll find out on June 6th, when WWDC kicks off.