One hot new technology the iPhone 5 does not have is near-field communications, commonly known as NFC. The tech is the basis of many phone-as-wallet programs, which allow people to pay for purchases by tapping their phones against an NFC reader in stores. The new Nokia Lumia 920 has NFC, as do some Android smartphones. So why not the iPhone?
All Things D talked with Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller, who said Apple thought iPhone users wouldn't need NFC. "Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today," he said. The iPhone's Passbook capability collects and presents scannable digital versions of people's store club cards, airplane tickets, baseball tickets and more.
Another reason may have been the phone's exterior. The aluminum and glass casing would block NFC signals coming from the phone, Will Strauss, an analyst with the research firm Forward Concepts, told the New York Times' Bits Blog.
"Only plastic, Kevlar or similar backings will allow the radio connection for mobile payments. Clearly, Apple chose beauty over functionality with its aluminum back," Strauss said.