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iPhone 5, iPad 2 To Sport NFC Technology

Sources familiar with Apple plans have apparently confirmed that the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 will come with Near Field Communication technology capable of transmitting and receiving information up to 100mm.

Bloomberg (opens in new tab) cites Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group, who in turn refers to unnamed Apple engineers claiming to have worked on the hardware.

Apple already handles a wide variety of user data, including credit card details, basic banking data, user preferences and location, and so could become a viable alternative to the likes of Visa, Mastercard and even Paypal.

We understand, based on our previous discussions with French technology company Gemalto, that NFC could also be used for location-based services - especially mobile ads - something Apple may look at as part of its iAd service.

But NFC could have other applications as well including initiating communication between Apple devices on short distances, making it an ideal substitute for Bluetooth for example.

Doherty says that Apple has already created a test payment terminal that small businesses may use and is considering either subsidising or giving it away to retailers to roll it out as far as possible.

The service could be rolled out as early as mid-2011, which if true, would come just in time for the iPhone 5 launch. You can read our coverage of Near Field Communication on the iPhone 5 here.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.