Apple has long been rumored to be planning to include near field communications tech in the iPhone 5.
However, according to PC Advisor, the company unveiled a new app for iOS 6, called Passbook, at the recent WWDC.
Christopher Williams from The Telegraph writes that Passbook is meant to be used as a user-friendly holder for documents with associated barcodes such as cinema tickets, boarding passes and Starbucks vouchers.
“Passbook takes all of these passes and combines them together in one place, and integrates it right into the OS, and they are beautiful,” said Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone Software at Apple.
But analysts view the app as a precursor to a more developed e-payment tech for the future iPhone, possibly even featuring “wave and pay” technology.
Samsung has already included NFC in its latest Galaxy S III smartphone, while Google relies on its app and in-store system, Google Wallet.
Williams observes that for now Cupertino might be testing the waters to help users become accustomed to “wave and pay” purchasing before introducing a full-fledged NFC feature.
“Apple may not even need to rely on NFC to take the lead,” he writes. “PayPal’s mobile payments app, inStore, introduced last month, uses barcodes to verify payments in stores, so Apple could also take that approach until consumers become more comfortable with [NFC-based] ‘wave and pay’ purchasing.”