NFC pundit downplays iPhone 5

At least one player in the NFC world doesn’t see the iPhone 5’s lack of support as a huge deal.

There was speculation that Apple would include contactless NFC technology before the iPhone 4S was even released, and when that phone didn’t incorporate it, industry insiders thought for sure the iPhone 5 would.

So it came as some surprise when there was absolutely no mention of the feature during this month’s unveiling. However, Datacard director of mobile solutions business development Sebastien Tormos says that NFC will move on.

“If we think about the market forces right now, Android smartphones are going extremely strong, and NFC technology has got endorsements from technology vendors. I’m not too concerned, especially with bridging technologies available,” he said at a contactless payment conference in Australia, as quoted by ZDNet.

In addition, just because the iPhone 5 doesn’t have a built-in chip doesn’t mean it can’t be altered as a mobile payment device. There are sleeves and cases that add the function externally, and Datacard is planning on launching such an accessory for the new Apple phone.

NFC payments have seen a slower-than-expected adoption regardless of the iPhone, and there’s no question that if the iPhone 5 incorporated it, it would have really helped to boost awareness. But those in the industry see it as a marathon, not a sprint.