What appears to be a near-field communication chip was spotted in some recently leaked assembly photos allegedly taken of the iPhone 5.
The photos were leaked by a photobucket account belonging to a user going by the name "meme_168."
They show the front panel of the Apple's upcoming iDevice in all of its unassembled glory.
What we can tell from the photos is that the iPhone 5's front camera moved - now located above the earpiece rather than to the side. Where the camera once was is now home to a new chip that is strongly believed to be for NFC support.
While there are no markings on the chip to designate it as an NFC chip, the photos suggest it's consistent with 5x5 mm square NFC chips that are currently available.
Passbook to make NFC mainstream?
NFC support has long been rumored to be a part of Apple's next iPhone.
One of the key new features for iOS 6 is the new Passbook app, which lets users consolidate paperless boarding passes, receipts, tickets and other data onto their handset in one organized interface.
But with NFC support, the Passbook app could expand to be a source for mobile payments, holding credit card info and other payment data to replace the need for carrying cards with you.
Select Android handsets have already started to adopt NFC through the Google Wallet app, and Windows Phone 8 devices will support NFC as well.
NFC has yet to gain widespread traction in the market, in part due to the small number of devices that support the feature.
However, with the iPhone 5 seemingly on board, it could give NFC a significant boost to make it a new standard for mobile payments.
Via Apple Insider
Article continues below