We’ve been reading the tea leaves for the last couple of years on Apple’s plans for NFC, our forecast of over 40 million NFC chipsets shipped into the US market in 2011 among them. Apple’s growing pile of NFC-related patent filings is another (see next story). Now we have, via Bloomberg, hardware engineers confirming that the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 will have NFC capability.
The larger rumor concerns an NFC-based payment service powered by Apple. This would put Apple in competition with no fewer than Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Google, and the mobile operator-based Isis payment network. Apple will be a very powerful contender in the coming NFC land grab.
Payments-related businesses are all firing up their spreadsheets to model the potential impact of the Durbin amendment debit regulations and the low processing cost they’ll require. As ubiquitously, each of those businesses is looking at revenue from the data around the payment, especially advertising and merchandising support. Expect Apple, with its enormous iTunes user base (100 million plus accounts on file) to be selling mobile advertising, merchandising support, and likely get into the couponing business. That’s where a ton of revenue will be made.
Apple Inc. plans to introduce services that would let customers use its iPhone and iPad computer to make purchases, said Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group.
The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4 inches, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, Doherty said. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.