There’s some new imagery going around that purports to show off the NFC chip on the upcoming iPhone 5. Not everyone’s so convinced, though, and some theories have emerged as to why this mystery component may be something else entirely. In fact, there’s a arguably convincing case to be made for why there may be no NFC on the iPhone 5 at all.
That little square guy up top is supposed to be an integrated NFC controller chip and antenna. There are a number of problems with that idea, starting with just how small it is. NFC antennas are much larger than this on other phones, and an antenna this size would have likely have very limited range. It’s also off-center, making aligning it with other NFC devices even more tricky.
Then we have to consider the rest of the phone’s design that we’ve seen, with so much metal negating the possibility of antenna placement elsewhere, as well as the current state of the wireless payment industry. After all, it’s a bit of a mess right now as far as cooperation between banks, carriers, and processing agencies go. Apple is all about having things “just work” and if it’s going to be a real pain to make mobile payments, Apple might just steer clear of the whole mess.