Mobile Payments, NFC May Play Major Role in Next Apple iPhone

For the last two years, rumors have circulated that Apple would invest in Near Field Communications technology for the next generation iPhone.

But the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S have since arrived sans the mobile payments technology that is quickly being embraced elsewhere in the mobile world.

Yet, in light of the revelations made this week at Apple’s WWDC, this could finally be the big year for NFC in iPhone territory.

The clues come from a new native iPhone app inbound with iOS 6 this fall.

“Passbook is the simplest way to get all of your passes in one place,” Scott Forstall, Apple’s vice president of iPhone Software, told developers during the WWDC keynote yesterday.

Passbook allows iOS users to keep and quickly access electronic versions of their electronic tickets, boarding passes and other merchant cards.

“Passbook takes all of these passes and combines them together in one place, and integrates it right into the OS, and they are beautiful,” Forstall said, demonstrating how Passbook updates your electronic boarding ticket if a flight is delayed.

According to no shortage of analysts who have weighed in on the new app from Apple, this offering was born for NFC. And most believe that the technology will finally turn up on the next-gen iPhone, which will likely debut in September or October.