A new Apple patent describes a near-field communication service called “iTravel” as “a method and system for transportation check-in (e.g.:, ticketing and identification) via near field communication (NFC) using a handheld electronic device, such as a cellular phone or a personal media player”.
Using NFC for check-in, “the handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application. Various methods may be employed to acquire the reservation and identification information on the handheld device.”
This has fueled speculation that Apple could be planning to expand on its new iOS 6 Passbook app in order to bring NFC to the next iPhone.
However, market watchers believe this won’t happen any time soon.
Based on an analysis of Apple’s strategy and information from sources inside the company, The Wall Street Journal concluded that Cupertino won’t introduce NFC in the near future as the market isn’t ready for it yet.
In addition, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that Apple would rather wait for its competitors to test an innovation before coming with its own version of the tech.
Another Apple patent describes the company’s idea of a windscreen that could enhance audio quality.
A fresh Apple rumor coming from Know Your Mobile claims that Cupertino will present the next iPhone on August 7, based on information from “a reliable industry source” that wishes to remain anonymous.
And as the launch of the device is fast approaching, pre-orders are apparently already being taken in China.
Chinese site Sohu posted an ad put up by a store for the early pre-orders of the iPhone 5, presenting what looks like a large iPod Touch, with “iPhone 5” written in large letters.
In addition, Reuters found that Chinese website Taobao takes pre-orders for the iPhone 5, with sellers asking for amounts between 160 and $ 1200 for a pre-order.
“Demand is high. Yesterday someone just bought two phones. Altogether we have about two dozen orders,” a seller on Taobao told Reuters.
A small auction that takes place on the website reportedly reached 8600$ for pre-orders of the device on Thursday.
Speculation on the iPhone pricing in the UK presents Apple’s possible policy regarding the cost of the much-anticipated device.
Speaking of prices, PC Advisor’s David Court made an analysis of the possible price for the handset.
The site concluded that Apple has increased the cost with £40 when upgrading from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 and with £20 for an update of the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S, estimating that the iPhone 5 price for a 16GB model will be somewhere between £499 and £549.
Prices of 32GB and 64GB versions will likely depend on the additional storage.
Amid rumors of pre-orders of the device in Asia, Chinese site KitGuru posted several pictures of what is allegedly the actual device.
The images present a longer iPhone displayed side-by-side with an iPhone 4S, featuring a redesigned 19-pin dock connector, speaker grille and bottom headphone jack.
However, based on the device’s rough appearance and the lack of an LCD display, the pictures seem to present a hand-made mockup of the device.
But if mockups that surface on the net from time to time seem to be lacking quality, here’s something that really ignited Apple fans’ imagination.
The media speculated that a self-promotion recruiting video by Apple actually features a mockup of the next iPhone.
The clip presents a wall papered with product sheets that appears to have a mock-up of the handset with a larger display.
Looking at the picture, you can see that it is very hard to say if the device is actually the iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4S or another product.
However, Apple isn’t likely to publish a picture of the iPhone 5 in its presentation clip, especially since the company is secretive about its products until the launch.