One of the biggest blows to near field communication (NFC) chip adoption in the U.S. came last year when Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 and the feature was not a part of the hardware. Had a company with the influence of Apple backed the technology, a number of applications and solutions would be in the pipeline to take advantage of it. Instead, many in the payment industry were left disappointed.
However, the latest report from MacRumors, could change things. Quoting Japanese blog MacOtakare as its source, the piece says that both NFC and a fingerprint sensor are confirmed features in the next hardware update of the popular smartphone.
"Apple will use the fingerprint sensor functionality to enhance the security of NFC features such as mobile payments," MacRumors said on its report.
This rumor has been in the mill for some time and the company's acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec last year just added fuel to the fire. The reports from last year said Apple has been deliberately taking it slow on NFC technology to focus on the Passbook digital wallet application. So far, this is the first report of the feature being a part of the iPhone 5S.
There are also reports that Foxconn - Apple's Chinese production factory-could be ready to start ramping up creation of the latest iPhone. This means it could be available as early as August.
As always when it comes to Apple, until it appears onstage with CEO Tim Cook, this should be treated as is just rumor. However, it could mean that come this time next year, the mobile payment industry could look radically different with the company that revolutionized the mp3 player and cell phone leading the charge.