updated 11:41 am EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Details of platform still under wraps
The next-generation iPhone should include NFC-based mobile payment technology, sources tell Wired. The magazine doesn't go into specifics, except to claim that the mobile payment system will be "one of the hallmark features of the device when it's unveiled on September 9." A past report from The Information suggested that there might be a "secure element" in the new iPhone that would safeguard financial information, presumably a reference to allowing Touch ID to verify NFC purchases using the secure enclave.
Rumors of NFC support coming to the iPhone have been off and on for years, but have intensified in the past few weeks. Apple has also been in talks regarding a mobile payment platform, and hiring to that effect as well.
The company has generally resisted NFC thus far, preferring its own Bluetooth LE-based iBeacon technology alongside the fact that NFC has failed to take off in the marketplace. However, Apple could help revitalize the struggling technology by adopting compatibility with it in the interests of more widespread compatibility with existing NFC systems as an alternate connection method. The iBeacon technology makes a point of also being NFC-compatible if desired.
Though the company may be working with credit card companies to bypass third-party payment processing, any platform will presumably be built off of iTunes, which has an existing payment infrastructure. It is expected take advantage of Apple's Touch ID fingerprint recognition to provide an extra layer of security, and may hook into iOS' Passbook app (pictured).