Next Generation iPhone may offer NFC?

The word is that Apple over the last couple of months have been looking into Near Field Communications, and apparently this is backed by a 2 year old Apple patent that covers a “Touch Screen RFID Tag Reader,” and comments from an NFC group which Apple has been testing a prototype reports the Register.

However apparently Nokia has been pushing Near Field Communications for quite some time, years in fact; so could Apple succeed with NFC where Nokia hasn’t?

NFC is a 2-way standard for low power short range radio communication and builds on a one-way-induction-powered Radio Frequency Identification standard by mandating that NFC handsets feature an induction powered along with an RFID reader tag that can interact with other tags.

Apple filed their patent 2 years ago by was awarded in July and the patent covers the integration of an RFID tag and antenna into touch screen devices which includes mobile phones and digital audio players. Comments from the guy who runs the NFC group on LinkedIn say Apple has constructed some prototype iPhones with RFID reader built in and isn’t full RFID but is a start for real service discovery.

NFC in an iPhone would give Apple a distinct feature advantage and would integrate with iTunes to deliver such things as an Oyster Card app downloaded from iTunes that could be loaded with credit via iTunes in-app payment system.

There’s not much Apple hasn’t done with the iPhone before but embedding NFC into the iPhone certainly would be a step into the unknown and could be a radical iPhone. Nokia say they have launched several NFC handsets but in reality the tech is still at trial stage and may never materialise unless something radical happens.