Apple to add NFC payment feature in iPhone 5, iPad 2 - Apple

Apple is planning to introduce a Near Field Communications (NFC) payment feature in the iPhone 5 and iPad 2.

The news came via Bloomberg from Richard Doherty, Director of Envisioneering Group, who said that the next versions of Apple's leading mobile devices will feature NFC payment options embedded in the phone or tablet.

Apple hired Benjamin Vigier, one of the people behind the mobile payment provider MFoundry, to help prepare its NFC feature, and it has also patented an NFC information sharing system that can work on multiple apps on multiple Apple devices.

Of course, Apple is late in the game with NFC, as Google already rolled out the feature in Android 2.3, Gingerbread, at the end of last year. With Apple's new devices still potentially months away it will be playing catch-up with Android in the NFC field.

According to market analysts at iSuppli, the NFC sector is set to boom this year, making it a vital area of expansion for Apple and its rivals. NFC has already received staunch support from the Dutch and Visa created a microSD card that allows non NFC-enabled phones to use the feature. 

Doherty also confirmed that the two new Apple devices will most likely launch this year, but was unable to given any indication of when exactly that might be.