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Thursday, March 17, 2011, 06:50 pm PT (09:50 pm ET)

Apple still planning to include NFC e-wallet in next iPhone - rumor

On the heels of a recent report downplaying rumors that the next iPhone will include wireless near-field communication technology, one report has reignited speculation with the news that NFC industry insiders still believe the iPhone 5 will carry the feature.

A report by Forbes blogger Elizabeth Woyke on Friday has countered a recent report from The Independent that denied rumors of wireless NFC technology in Apple's next generation iPhone. The Independent claimed earlier this week that Apple had disclosed to "several" mobile operators in the U.K. its alleged decision to abandon plans to include the feature in the so-called iPhone 5.

According to Woyke, "an entrepreneur who is working on a top-secret NFC project" cited a friend who works at Apple to assert that the iPhone 5 will have NFC contactless capabilities. The entrepreneur also told Woyke that manufacturers of NFC readers expect Apple's next smartphone to have NFC and are gearing up for "the additional NFC traffic the iPhone 5 will bring, likely this summer."

Woyke acknowledged The Independent's claims, noting that many had been "surprised" by the report. The U.K. publication had cited "the lack of a clear standard" as Apple's reason for allegedly delaying the feature.

However, Woyke affirmed her faith in the credibility of her source, in spite of the on-again, off-again nature of the report. "I trust this source and know he has connections in the NFC market because of his own project," she wrote.

In January, Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group claimed that Apple planned to start its own retail-based mobile payment service as early as mid-2011. It should be noted, however, that Doherty erroneously predicted that Apple would add an NFC chip to the iPad 2.

AppleInsider discovered in January that Apple was looking to hire a test engineer with experience in near-field communications, namely RFID.

Last month, Germany's Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, fueled speculation even more when it mentioned Apple during a presentation on e-wallet payment systems.