There is an increasing consensus that despite the technology taking off in a big way in 2012 and despite it being a central feature of many of its main competitors, the iPhone 5 will not come with an NFC chip. It won’t come with an NFC sharing app like Android Beam; Passbook will not be powered by NFC; and the new iPhone will not have an NFC powered mobile wallet called iWallet.
This could all turn out to be untrue next Wednesday of course, but at present NFC seems unlikely. Reuters is reporting that while an NFC powered iWallet may be out of the question, there are some companies already toying with other payment apps for the new iPhone (and older iPhones).
Supermarket giant Wal-Mart is developing an iPhone app that will allow user to scan items in store to cut down on scanning times at the tills. Users of the app will still have to make a payment at a self-service check-out, but rather than spend time scanning items at the check-out, this process can be done item by item as you add things to your basket / trolley.
The new app is being trialled at a Wal-Mart in Arkansas but it is a novel idea that could get picked up by other large retailers, with apps appearing for all major phone platforms. The Wal-Mart has the potential the significantly cut down on the amount of time that it takes to wait for others to scan their items at self-service checkouts, as all you will need to do is present your iPhone and make the payment.
If this sort of app were coupled with NFC payments in the future, supermarkets and large retailers could become more efficient and no longer be plagued by lengthy queues. The iPhone 5 is launched on September 12th and you can keep up to date with the launch via the iPhone 5 Facebook group.