Report claims near field communication hardware in iPhone 4

Apple plans play-by-iPhone service

Apple plans to introduce a system to allow owners of iPhone and iPad devices to purchase goods with a "near-field communications chip" according to a Bloomberg report.

The technology, which allows communication of information over short touch-like distances, is the same as that featured in the recently launched Google Nexus S handset. 

The claim comes from an engineering consultancy firm boss Richard Doherty who said that hardware engineers were working on hardware for the Apple launch of a payment service.

Analysts said that so-called NFC technology would compliment Apple’s iTunes offering by providing access into the billing system, possibly setting the service up as a competitor to other payment systems such as Visa and PayPal.

The technology also raises many possibilities of tie-ins with retail outlets and the service industry, not only allowing payments but providing a vital hook-in which can be used in promotions and loyalty schemes. 

While the Bloomberg report is currently the only source regarding Apple’s intentions towards NFC, last year Apple hired Benjamin Vigier who was responsibile for the Starbucks mobile payment system on the iPhone and who previously headed up NFC-related business at mFoundry.

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