verizon iphone 4It seemed almost a sure thing that Apple would include near-field communication (NFC), a short-range communication technology used for mobile payments and information transfer, in the iPhone 5. But now it looks like we may have to wait until next year.

Apple apparently chose not to include the technology in the iPhone 5 (or whatever it ends up calling this year’s iPhone model) because it was worried about the lack of a clear industry NFC standard, sources from UK carriers tell The Independent. NFC will likely hit the iPhone next year when the technology is more stable, the sources say.

Aaron Greenspan, founder of the mobile payment company FaceCash, confirmed the NFC delay to VentureBeat this morning. He said that Apple told him a month ago that the technology would not make it into the next iPhone.

The technology has been around for some time, but many signs point to 2011 being the year that NFC finally takes off. Google included the technology in its latest flagship Android phone, the Nexus S, and it’s expected to make its way into other Android phones as well. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have also joined together to form the Isis mobile commerce network, which would rely on NFC.

We reported in January that Apple was looking into NFC technology, but at that point it was unclear how far along Apple was towards implementing it in the iPhone. Apple may be working on its own NFC standard that would use iTunes to make payments.

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