When we first learned about Google Wallet, the company was clear from the get-go that it wanted others to come join it in the NFC payment party. It would start things off with a partnership with Sprint, and invite carriers, along with financial institutions, to similarly adopt the system. That part will likely be very important to whatever NFC-based payment system emerges as the dominant force in the market; if it’s not widely accepted it will never catch on. One possibility we hadn’t considered at the time is the chance to get Google Wallet off of Android and onto other smartphone platforms where hardware’s available for NFC transactions. Google has since revealed willingness to provide access to Wallet on these other operating systems, including the iPhone, should Apple give the device NFC abilities.
Problem is, we can’t help but think that Apple wouldn’t go to the trouble of building-in NFC hardware just for it to be used with a service offered by Google. We’d expect Apple to have its own “killer app” for NFC if it were to give a future iPhone the ability, and it would be very difficult for that to be a successful payment processing app without the company forming the same kind of partnerships that Google is already at work on. Then again, Apple’s got some amazingly talented developers working for it, so we won’t write-off the possibility for some impressive social networking or media-sharing NFC app to be created and debut along with the new hardware. After all, there’s a lot more potential for NFC than just payments.