What would Monday be without new Apple rumors? Who knows? It almost never happens — and today is no different, with not one but two big bits of chatter buzzing around the technology blogosphere this morning.
iPhone, meet NFC
First up, 9to5Mac reports that, according to a file containing hardware data for a “new iPhone prototype,” an upcoming version of Apple’s popular handset will include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is used for making payments with a smartphone. The details of how such a system would work — like what type of credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts users may be able to link to their iPhone — are not yet clear. But if NFC does find its way into the new iPhone, it will obviously compete with Google Wallet, as well as devices running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8, which will also support NFC-enabled devices.
In the U.S., at least, NFC remains on the sidelines of mainstream use — and probably will for a while. But it is becoming more prevalent, as more and more handset makers bake the technology into their devices. And Apple has already unveiled one new app that makes the arrival of NFC in the iPhone appear all but inevitable: PassBook.
With PassBook, users can save and organize things like airport boarding passes, store loyalty cards, and movie tickets. Apple did not mention any inclusion of NFC in PassBook, but the addition of that functionality isn’t much of a jump.
Of course, we heard the iPhone NFC rumors before, during the frenzied days before the launch of the iPhone 4S, so take this one as it is — a rumor, nothing more. Still, if any company is going to make NFC cool at this point, it’s Apple. And given the fact that Apple already has users’ financial data on file for iTunes and App Store purchases, building in further purchasing seems a logical next step.
Yelp check-ins with iOS 6 Maps
Next up: Bloomberg reports that Apple will “feature” Yelp check-ins in its new, forthcoming Maps app. Again, this rumor rings true. Apple already mentioned that Maps will integrate with other apps — including Yelp — to enhance its functionality. And given that Yelp’s profits have jumped 70 percent thanks to local advertising, the business of which is bolstered by check-ins (a feature first launched in 2010), it makes sense that Yelp would push for such a feature.
That said, check-ins aren’t exactly synonymous with Yelp. In fact, Foursquare and Facebook have a huge leg up in that department. So Yelp does seem a bit of an odd choice for this feature. But that doesn’t mean things can’t change.
In addition to Yelp enhancements, Maps for iOS 6 will feature 2D and 3D flyover view of many of the world’s cities, as well as Siri integration, real-time traffic data, and turn-by-turn navigation.