Apple's Passbook application works through optical scanning of QR codes, which allows people to, essentially, use their iPhones in lieu of tickets or boarding passes. Some analysts believe use of QR codes could become far more prevalent for mobile wallet transactions in the next two years, while they project slower growth for NFC mobile wallets.
Gottheil and other analysts said that NFC might come to the iPhone in the next generation as perhaps another authentication system similar to what the Moto X now provides.
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, said Apple will probably add support for NFC at some point because it can't avoid a universal wireless technology for sharing data with people who use devices that run other operating systems.
Apple in June said that AirDrop file-sharing technology would be included in iOS 7. AirDrop relies on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but not NFC. The iOS 7 operating system will be available for free on the iPhone 4 and later devices on Sept. 18 and will ship in the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.
"NFC will be added to iPhones when Apple figures out how they can either add value or monetize it," Milanesi said. "For Apple, there is no immediate need."
NFC also has a role in allowing authentication, Milanesi added. "I doubt Apple could stay away from it."
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