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Use your next generation iPhone, iPad as a digital wallet?

The buzz today is that Apple is reportedly planning to include Near Field Communication technology (NFC) into the next generation of its iPhone and iPad.

NFC, in case you don't know, enables devices to share information between each other at close proximity, around 4 inches. In practical scenarios, your iPhone could become your digital wallet, using NFC technology that links to your bank account and can be used at point-of-sale terminals. Imagine swiping your iPhone at the WalMart register.

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For some quick and dirty background on NFC, check out this wiki.

NFC has possibilities for improving ease-of-use in mobile and electronic ticketing, electronic money payments and transfers, and multi-device communications.

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Some wonder if Apple is making a play for the mobile payments market, in a way that could cut out the credit card companies. Apple has millions of subscribers to its iTunes service, and it wouldn't be a huge technological leap to use NFC and connect their users via their accounts on PayPal. MG Siegler of TechCrunch, hypothesizes.

I'm sure Visa and Mastercard would remain on the cutting edge of NFC technology, too.

But imagine a world where you're using an iPhone to buy real stuff, not just virtual goods such as music and videos, and Apple becomes the entity that's enabling the purchase. I don't know how I feel about that.

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