Soon you may be able to pay for a business lunch with your iPhone

News: March 2011

Soon you may be able to pay for a business lunch with your iPhone

According to the latest tech-blurb, Apple may implement “near field communication” technology (NFC) in the next iPad and iPhone, allowing users to make purchases directly from these devices. Futurists and techies alike have long heralded the dawn of the cashless society and now it seems closer than ever.

Numerous reports have suggested that NFC technology will be introduced in the upcoming updates of both the iPhone and the iPad this year, citing inside information from engineers working on the new hardware. Never being a firm to miss an opportunity, Apple is said to be introducing a mobile payment service from mid-2011 and could even redesign iTunes to allow it to hold loyalty credits and points. Users will also be able to use credit information or Apple gift cards to make real-world purchases.

Apple has reportedly already developed a prototype of the payment terminal and may heavily subsidise it to encourage fast take-up of the technology. The technology apparently allows users to send and receive information at a distance of 10 centimetres (4 inches), which can be used to make purchases of goods directly from a mobile phone, using the handset as a debit or credit card.

Google recently made its latest version of Android compatible with the technology, so it would make sense that Apple would want to access this market, too. The iPhone 5 has been rumoured to have NFC technology. If it happens, it could trigger a huge growth in mobile payments, considering Apple’s ability to make a product become a consumer “must have” accessory.