updated 12:06 pm EDT, Tue June 4, 2013
Could be used to share files between Macs and iOS devices
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on an NFC-based data transfer technology, notes AppleInsider. The concept would let people quickly transfer files between devices by setting up an impromptu peer-to-peer connection. An iPhone, for instance, could be "tapped" against a Mac to open up a connection, and then copy over documents from the Mac. The files wouldn't be copied via NFC, but rather over a Wi-Fi connection that the NFC link would facilitate.
Featured in patent documents are two iPhone apps, "Grab & Go" and "Revisit." These could cover tasks like cloud storage and syncing data from apps open on another machine. No such apps currently exist or have been rumored however, and Apple has yet to build NFC into any of its products.
Apple has been rumored as wanting to put NFC in the next iPhone. It's expected that the technology would mainly be in support of a mobile payments, made more secure through the addition of a fingerprint scanner by AuthenTec. Fingerprint recognition is in fact more likely than NFC, since in SEC filings detailing its acquisition by Apple, AuthenTec explicitly referred to "2D fingerprint sensors for use in or with Apple products."