Patent Reveals That Apple Does Have Interest in NFC

In the months leading up to Apple’s Fall iPhone announcement, there were several rumors that claimed Apple’s next smartphone would feature NFC technology. Competing devices have had the wireless payment tech for years, but it’s only recently started to gain traction.

Obviously, the gossip didn’t materialize, as there isn’t any kind of NFC chipset in the iPhone 4S. But that doesn’t mean that Apple is ignoring the technology. The company was recently awarded a patent regarding Near Field Communications in mobile devices…

According to Patently Apple, this is Apple’s first NFC patent it has won related to retail transactions. The document explains a method of establishing a master/slave relationship between two smartphones using NFC, similar to the popular Bump file-sharing app.

The patent also refers to the technology in retail situations. Could this mean that Apple is working on a NFC-based mobile payment system? It’s possible. Apple did just update its retail application with a self-checkout feature. Perhaps that’s just the foundation for something bigger.