The iPhone 6 rumor mill is already spinning at full speed, but a new report from BrightWire offers up yet another claim for the upcoming smartphone. Citing an anonymous insider, the site claims Apple will include Near Field Communications (NFC) in the iPhone 6 as part of a deal with ChinaUnionPay to set up a mobile payments network.
iPhone 6 owners would allegedly be able to download a special UnionPay app within Passbook to make mobile payments at over three million “QuickPass” machines across China. UnionPay is the only domestic bank card available in the country, meaning the deal could potentially open up a huge source of revenue for Apple if the company is allowed to take even a tiny cut from those mobile payments. Cupertino has resisted NFC technology for years and has even mocked its usage on Android, but the potential for profit here might be enough to finally push it over the edge.
Earlier this year several Apple patents emerged revealing the company’s interest in NFC for making mobile payments or passing iTunes content between phones by tapping them together. It’s certainly possible Apple could include NFC with the iPhone 6, but it has so far opted for other methods for sharing content, like AirPlay. Android, meanwhile, has used NFC for allowing users to establish connections to send photos, and it’s currently used for mobile payments with Google Wallet and Isis.
Based on recent reports we could see the new iPhone announced as soon as August, though it seems more likely the company will wait until September to announce the handset like it has for the past few years.