There's new life emerging for one of the big Apple rumors that came out last year but never gained much steam. We're talking about Near Field Communication (NFC) support for the next generation of the iPhone. NFC, of course, is the standard used in contactless credit cards today and is looking to be a standard feature of smartphones tomorrow.
Apple fan site 9to5mac.com said it recently chatted with a "well-connected developer" at the Macworld conference, who said Apple software engineers are "heavy into NFC." The developer, whose identity was not revealed, said he is working on an iPhone app that will support NFC payments, something that wouldn't really make sense unless said developer was quite sure that the next iPhone would incorporate the new payment standard.
Of course, getting hardware support is only knocking down one barrier to entry when it comes to NFC. The rest of the puzzle includes the mobile carriers, the software makers, the payment service providers, and the retailers. That's a lot of pieces. Google Wallet has been an unfortunate victim of the politics at play here, with support currently only available to select Citi credit cardholders who also happen to be Sprint customers. Many have predicted 2012 is when the puzzle will finally come together, but for now we have to wait and see.