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Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 05:56 am PT (08:56 am ET)

Last-minute rumor claims Apple will include NFC chip in 'iPhone 5'

A prominent developer continues to believe that Apple will include a near-field communications chip in its next iPhone, though it may not be used for mobile payments.

Will Strafach, known by his handle "Chronic," took to his Twitter account on Wednesday only hours before Apple's keynote to suggest Apple's so-called "iPhone 5" will in fact include a near-field communications chip. He cryptically referenced something named "gpio12" which he suggested refers to a "major technology" that was found in a late development stage of the new iPhone.

Strafach later added that an iPhone model identified as N42AP, presumed to be a CDMA version of the latest iPhone, had an NFC chip. He believes another model, N41AP, is a GSM variant, and that both models will feature NFC technology.

He went on to say that NFC technology offers "much more than just payments." He suggested that the prospect of an NFC chip in the new iPhone was largely dismissed because Apple is not expected to offer e-wallet functionality.

The claims by Strafach contradict what the well-sourced Jim Dalrymple of The Loop reported last month. In response to an AnandTech piece that concluded NFC functionality is "unlikely" to appear in Apple's next handset, Dalrymple offered a succinct "Yep."

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The original analysis by Brian Klug and Anand Lal Shimpi concluded that because the new iPhone is expected to have a primarily metal backside, it would be difficult for an NFC signal to pass through. It was suggested that Bluetooth Low Energy could be a potential alternative.