iPhone 5 NFC – Apple explains why it’s missing

One of the most notable things about the iPhone 5 from a technical perspective is that it doesn’t feature NFC, the up-and-coming wireless payments standard. It’s becoming common in Android and Windows Phone 8 devices, but Apple chose to leave it out of its latest iPhone. Why?

Phil Schiller explained the company’s reasoning to AllThingsD, saying that “It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem.” Instead, Apple has Pasbook, which Schiller says “does the kinds of things customers need today.” Passbook is a precursor to a fully-fledged e-wallet solution, letting you aggregate thinks like digital cinema tickets and travel tickets. However, at present you can only pay for a very small number of items with Passbook, such as Starbucks coffee, using a loyalty card-like system.

At present, we’ll have to wait to see how much Passbook love we in the UK get, once iOS launches on September 19.

What’s worth noting, though, is quite how temporal Schiller’s words are. We wouldn’t be surprised if NFC features in the 2013 iPhone, as part of a much more established Passbook system. But for now, it seems, Apple isn’t willing to place a bet on a technology that isn’t quite there yet.

Last night, Apple launched the iPhone 5. Although it doesn’t bring NFC to the table, it does offer a larger screen, a “twice as fast” processor and an improved camera lens. The phone will be available to pre-order this Friday, 14 September, and will start shipping on 21 September. You can bet the first batch will sell out fairly quickly, so get your mouse-clicking finger ready for Friday.

Are you disappointed that the iPhone 5 doesn’t feature NFC? Let us know in the comments.  

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