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Thursday, February 17, 2011, 08:50 am PT (11:50 am ET)

Use of RFID in Apple's iPhone 5 expected to have a 'unique' twist

Apple is expected to include near-field communications technology like radio-frequency identification (RFID) in its next-generation iPhone, but with a different approach to the feature than has been seen in RFID-powered Android phones, according to a new report.

Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities issued a note to investors on Thursday from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. He noted that there has been a rising interest in near-field communications (NFC) at this year's show.

White said that his sources have indicated to him that the next iPhone will include NFC technology. However, Apple's approach will reportedly have "a twist that will make it unique versus his peers." White did not give any indication as to what the "twist" could be.

He did note that earlier this week, it was revealed that the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S II will feature NFC technology, while he said Google has pushed RFID as technology that "has the opportunity to revolutionize electronic commerce and payments." But the rumor would suggest that Apple is looking to offer more than an e-wallet for payment processing at retail stores.

Last November, one rumor claimed that Apple could use NFC technology in both its future iPhones and Macs to allow RFID-enabled "remote computing." It was said the rumored technology would allow users to securely turn a nearby Mac into their own personal computer, complete with custom settings, personal passwords, and even desktop backgrounds.

Apple has also filed patents related to NFC technology, including one discovered last July which would allow users to obtain information about a range of products wirelessly and instantly. Examples of potential uses for the service, called "Products+," included obtaining information about a product to receiving promotions and coupons.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker has also hired experts on near-field communications, and was even rumored to be testing iPhone models with RFID chips as recently as August.

Also in his note issued on Thursday, White noted that Softbank has issued all 20,000 of its employees both an iPhone and iPad from Apple. He said the news is "a sign of things to come across enterprises," predicting further corporate adoption of Apple's iOS devices.