Over two years have passed since that first NFC conversation was initiated by then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, but Apple has yet to show the world that its iPhones are ready to include NFC. The iPhone 4S launch in October 2011 was expected to be the fruit-themed toymaker's major embracement of the technology, yet the device was merely a spec-bump from the iPhone 4 with the inclusion of a dual-core processor, a faster GPU and an annoying Natural Language Processing system called Siri.
According to a recent interview between 9-to-5 Mac and a well-connected developer at MacWorld 2012, however, it appears that Apple's iOS engineers are currently building apps that include NFC reading for the purpose of mobile transactions. Based on observations that the site's journalists noted, Apple's iOS engineers are currently “heavy into NFC" with enough confidence "to bet app development on."
Of course, these recent observations are not absent of prior events that have predicated the eventual inclusion of an NFC chip in an upcoming iPhone release. To quote a New York Times blog post from March 2011, before the iPhone 4S launch, "two people with knowledge of the inner workings of Apple’s next-generation iPhones say either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 will include a new chip that is made by Qualcomm [for Near Field Communication]."
Another related interview between Fast Company and Ed McLaughlin, head of emerging payments at MasterCard, suggests that Apple may be partnering with the credit card company as its mobile payment systems service provider of choice. While the interview doesn't specifically suggest "Apple" by name, it does provide hints into MasterCard's intentions to partner with a major smartphone manufacturer that has the ability to advance its foothold in the wireless payment territory.
The interview with MasterCard regarding its future in near-field communications technology can be found here.