The Internet is abuzz with rumors circulating in advance of the expected Wednesday (Sept. 12) launch of the iPhone 5. Every analyst, blogger, crossing guard and village idiot is bursting with theories on iPhone 5 features, functionality and components. Some of these theories will turn out to be accurate. Most won't.
Leading the speculation are the possibilities that the new phone will have LTE capability, new style ear buds, a next-generation processor and even a complete body redesign (could it be that Apple would actually abandon its patent on the rectangle?).
Some of these theories were created by technologists who examined leaked photos of a device purported to be the iPhone 5. Others were concocted by the hordes of Apple fanboys who apparently have nothing better to do. Still more appear to be the product of the imaginations of office water cooler heralds who know everything and are eager to show it.
The market value for iPhone theories has therefore plunged to an all-time low.
One interesting theory—actually two interesting theories—concerns inclusion of near-field communications (NFC) capability in the iPhone 5. Some observers are certain that the new iPhone will support NFC capability, while others are certain it will not. Much discussion has ensued on the merits (or lack thereof) of this decision.
Spoiler alert: I have no clue whether or not iPhone 5 will support NFC. On one hand, a good argument can be made that—especially in the U.S.—NFC capability for cashless payment and other features is in its infancy, so why add the cost to the handset's bill of materials? On the other hand, an equally compelling argument can be made that NFC is going to explode here and that the latest iPhone ought to be ahead of the curve.
If forced to bet, my money would be on no NFC in iPhone 5. Because the infrastructure is not there to support it, it does seem like an unnecessary expense for a technology that isn't ready for prime time. But being ahead of the curve is exactly what Apple has consistently done so well, and that has translated into a legion of followers. One of Apple's many attributes has been the ability to tell us what we need before we know we need it.
Failing to include NFC support will leave the door open for competitors like Google and Samsung to lay claim to offering a more forward-thinking handset. My gut feeling is that the Apple of Steve Jobs would have added NFC to the iPhone 5. Will the post-Jobs Apple?
Guess we'll have to wait until later this week to find out. If you absolutely can't wait, try doing Google search. You're bound to find plenty of postings that both support and contradict your own theories.