There's more evidence Apple is diving into the world of mobile payments with its next iPhone.
Wired, citing people familiar with the matter, reported Thursday that NFC, or near-field communication, is coming to the hotly anticipated iPhone 6 and will power a new mobile-payment platform on the device. NFC allows for touchless, short-distance interaction between a mobile device and other objects, often used to allow payments at a register or a quick way for one phone to recognize another.
If these rumors are true, the change could allow Apple to catch up to its chief rival, Samsung, in offering the technology. A few years ago, Samsung highlighted the absence of NFC in iPhones when trying to pitch its Galaxy smartphones. Many of Samsung's Galaxy phones can share content such as photos or a music playlist by simply bumping the backs of the phones together. NFC can also be used to pair smartphones to other devices, such as cameras and wireless headphones and speakers, simply by placing a phone in close proximity to compatible devices.
Wired reports a new mobile-payment platform will be one of the "hallmark features" of the new device.
While Apple doesn't offer much so far in mobile payments, the company did take a small step in that direction with Passbook, a service launched in 2012 that brought together a person's loyalty cards, coupons, and event tickets on the iPhone. Passbook doesn't include debit or credit card payment features.
Among the other rumored upgrades, most industry watchers expect the next iPhone to have two display sizes, a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch model, larger than the latest 4-inch iPhone 5C and 5S phones. That new feature, again, is seen as an attempt to match other smartphone makers such as Samsung, which have been moving into larger displays in their newer models.
Apple declined to comment.