Apple was expected to include Near Field Communication (NFC) hardware in the 2011 releases of the iPhone and iPad, in order to allow customers to make purchases at retail stores with said devices. The iPad 2 was released without any NFC technology, and it now looks like we'll see the same story for the upcoming iPhone 5, according to The Independent:
Sources at several of the largest mobile operators in the UK revealed Apple had disclosed in meetings that it would not be including Near Field Communication (NFC) technology – which enables payment for products with a wave of your phone on a reader – in the latest version of the iPhone, be it the iPhone 4GS or the iPhone 5. One source close to the discussions said: "The new iPhone will not have NFC, Apple told the operators it was concerned by the lack of a clear standard across the industry." Yet Apple is understood to be working on its own NFC proposition, which would link payments through iTunes. It hopes to introduce the technology in a handset likely to be released next year.
NFC technology adoption is widely anticipated to ramp up this year; it's arguably the biggest addition to new mobile OS versions, or at least that's what the industry thought. It's thus disappointing that Apple will not be on board as the company has enough market share to make or break a standard. Waiting until 2012 could change everything.
When Google officially introduced Android 2.3 and the Nexus S late last year, NFC support was a go. Although most Android phones don't have NFC built-in right now, Google was clear that it believes future phones should have it. Apple is apparently not at that stage yet.