As 2010 is winding down, it was inevitable that we would start hearing rumors about the next iteration of Apple’s iPhone. Despite the fact that we are probably eight months away from the release of the handset, that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from getting its gears grinding as to what we might expect.

According to Cult of Mac, the biggest rumor going around right now is that the iPhone may receive a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC). The system is most popularly used as an electronic wallet that will allow you to just pass your phone over a terminal and pay for your purchases. There has been a lot of talk about the future of e-wallet technology coming to mobile phones, and this would be a huge step in that direction. The technology has already been added to phones in several other countries, but it has been slow to roll out here.

apple logoAccording to the source who spoke about the possibility of this coming to the popular phone, Apple is looking well beyond a mere payment system implementation for the technology if they do add it.  Apparently the other use that is being studied is that you would be able to put the settings from your Mac on to the device, and then when you sat down at another Mac with an NFC receiver you would be able to turn that computer into a basic duplicate of your own.  As for security, and restoring the settings, when you would get up and walk out of range of the receiver, the Mac would then return to its normal settings.

As with any rumor, there is no guarantee that this would make the final cut of features for the iPhone 5, but there is no denying that the company is definitely looking into the technology.  This past Aug. it was reported that Apple had hired an expert in the NFC technology to work on some form of commerce product.

There all sorts of startups working on mobile payment systems, and Sprint is launching a company-wide payment system in the near future, so it is inevitable that Apple will have to come up with something along those lines.  If it makes it into the iPhone 5 is the big question, but I would say it’s probably safe to assume it won’t happen any later than the iPhone 6.  If the Mac portion of the rumor is true remains to be seen.

What say you?  Are you ready for mobile payment systems?