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iPhone 5 With NFC Is Too Soon For Consumers

Less than a day away from the press event announced by Apple where everyone is going to "talk iPhone", analysts are still trying to predict Apple's strategy towards Near Field Communication technology.

According to senior director of PayPal Mobile, Laura Chambers, the market is not really accustomed to mobile payments yet, and will not do so until NFC is mainstream, ZDNet (opens in new tab) reports.

[ed: You can read our extensive coverage of the iPhone 5 from the very beginning here. Follow Us Live From 18:00 UK time (10am local time) for the iPhone 5 event here.]

In May 2011, when Google announced the Google Wallet program there was a serious buzz around mobile payments and this new course of development in transactions. Since then the enthusiasm seems to have cooled off a bit though.

Whether or not the iPhone 5 incorporates NFC technology, which will allow users to make payments with their smartphone, it will have little impact on consumer habits in the short term. According to Chambers, the investment that a very few merchants have made in terminals able to support the payment technology have not paid off, since only a small fraction of the population actually uses mobile payment services.

Apple's iPhone 4 and iPad and also Google Android smartphones and tablets already integrate options such as scanning bar-codes and debiting from certain cards.

As the COO of mobile payment firm Square, Keith Rabois observed, "the culture of swiping credit cards is simply too ingrained in our consumer culture."

Under the present circumstances, the next-generation iPhone 5 could only be seen as a "stepping stone" for mobile payments at best. The real breakthrough in this area will not be made until the market is ready, probably next year. As Apple is known to be in step with the trends, the iPhone 6 will most likely incorporate significant features relating to mobile payments technology.

Radu is the founder of, and has worked as a freelance writer for ITProPortal, as well as having been blogging around since 2004. He is interested in anything Apple as well as gaming and mobile applications.