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iPhone 5 rumor roll-up for the week ending Nov. 25

John Cox | Nov. 29, 2011
The iOSsphere is now very sure iPhone 5 will have a 4-inch display. They're just not sure who is building it.

"No, we are not recycling the old news just to give them a new spin," Main Device solemnly declares. Perish the thought. "This time reports from the tech industry revealed by DigiTimes seem to point in this direction."

"[N]ow a report emanating from handset manufacturers in Asia indicates it is highly likely we will see an e-Wallet (or i-Wallet) application using NFC arriving with the iPhone 5 next year," ITProPortal assures us.

So, what's the report? It's a 164-word post at DigiTimes (you'll have to follow the link in the ITProPortal post), which cites "Taiwan-based smartphone makers" as its source. The story isn't about the iPhone 5 per se. It's about the expected, or projected, or wished-for adoption of short-range NFC radios in smartphones, as a mechanism for wireless payments.

From DigiTimes: "As Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Bada have supported NFC (near field communication) functions and Microsoft and Apple plan to make Windows Phone and iOS support NFC in 2012, the proportion of NFC-enabled smartphones will quickly increase from less than 10% currently to over 50% in two to three years ..."

For normal people, who have to pay bills and get supper ready for the kids and so on, that's kind of a yawner, especially because "quick increases" of NFC-enabled smartphones have been predicted every year almost since the dawn of the latest millennium.

But Main Device sees deeper. "Just think of the huge database of iTunes accounts, with over 200 million credit card information. With this starting point Apple could easily integrate NFC technology to iOS 5," the site explains breathlessly, without actually explaining how a complete, secure NFC infrastructure could be "easily integrated" into iOS 5. "Theoretically, this time next year, an iPhone (let's say iPhone 5, for the sake of argument) owner can wave his handset in front of a terminal with a NFC sensor and then enter an Apple ID password on the iPhone to complete the purchase."

"[W]e don't really think Apple would take the back seat while rivals play successfully with a new technology," Main Device concludes.

"Successfully" is the key word. The iPhone 5 News Blog at least cites a recent report from ABI Research (summarized in a press release here).

"By the end of 2012, Google will prove that Google Wallet is a hit with consumers ...," says Mark Beccue, senior analyst, mobile commerce and NFC, who argues that wallet offerings from Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) will be under pressure from entrants like Google and soon Apple. "Apple will launch a mobile wallet product in 2012. Apple's MNO partners will allow Apple to offer their mobile wallet to consumers who have iPhones, regardless of whether or not the MNO has a competing mobile wallet," says Beccue.


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