Mathew Shaer explains,
NFC – the acronym stands for near field technology – allows users to "swipe" their smartphones, as they do with credit cards or subway passes. (The Nexus S smartphone is already equipped with NFC tech.) An example: You could use your smartphone to pay for groceries at the supermarket; the NFC unit in the phone would interface with a receiver at the store, and your bank account would be charged automatically.
Fun! (And a little scary.) Over at Forbes, Elizabeth Woyke says manufacturers are "gearing up for the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring."
"From what I hear, it is possible the iPhone 5 will include NFC. An entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC product told me today that he believes the iPhone 5 will have NFC and cited a friend who works at Apple as a reliable source for the information," Woyke writes. "To further bolster his statement, the entrepreneur said that manufacturers of NFC readers – whom he has been talking to for his own product – also expect the iPhone 5 to have NFC."