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NFC iPhone 4S not Necessary in Fledgling Mobile Payments Market

Although Apple's newly released iPhone 4S does not incorporate an NFC chip (utilised in mobile payments among other things), analysts believe that the market is still some way off being ready for the feature.

At the moment, there are not enough terminals at selling points that would allow users to benefit from the most obvious implication of this technology - secure electronic payments with smartphones.

Moreover, as John Devlin of ABI Research observes, it is not so much a question of Apple adopting NFC technology as it is of NFC having Apple on-board in order to win over consumers (and retailers).

"Having Apple on-board would have been a great boost for NFC," Devlin remarks.

Typically, Apple can boost trends and change markets. The lack of NFC technology in the iPhone 4S is not all that surprising though, as Apple often likes to produce a refined product rather than rushing to be the first to launch a new feature.

Currently there are a few NFC payment systems, one of them being Google Wallet. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have recently advertised their support for a mobile wallet system, in a joint venture called Isis. HTC, LG, Motorola, RIM, Samsung and Sony Ericsson will probably get on-board to implement the technology very soon.

Analysts believe that the market will not be fully ready until the mid-2013, and by then more than 80 million NFC handsets will have been sold. The iPhone 5 and other Apple devices will most likely have this feature, but there's no rush.