Speculation is again bubbling up that the iPhone 6 will see Apple finally embrace NFC, with Morgan Stanley analysts predicting the technology will be a "core part" of the tech giant's mobile payments strategy.
Apple has been tipped to incorporate NFC chips in the iPhone for years but has so far ignored the technology, instead focusing its mobile money efforts on the Passbook wallet and Bluetooth Low Energy iBeacons.
Last month Ming Chi-Kuo, a KGI securities analyst with a prescient track record in forecasting Apple's plans, kicked off this year's round of speculation, confidently predicting in a note to investors that Apple will include NFC chips in this year's iPhone models, and offer support for the technology on its forthcoming iWatch.
Now Morgan Stanley analysts have followed suit. In a group report, the bank's Katy Huberty says: "Mobile payments is a major opportunity for Apple to improve user experiences and potentially add a new revenue stream."
Huberty's colleague Craig Hettenbach predicts that NFC will be a core part of Apple's assault on payments, citing the recent patent filings by the company and the emergence of Host Card Emulation, which would let Apple break free from wireless operators.
He also notes that the new mPOS system Apple is rolling out in its stores includes a VeriFone-made iPhone sleeve that is equipped for NFC, and highlights recent reports of a contactless payments agreement with China UnionPay.
If the iPhone 6 does get NFC, it is unlikely to wow Brits. Research from GMI shows that contactless payments are at the bottom of the list of concerns when people buy a new smarthphone.
Just 20% of survey respondents say NFC payments are important, with 53% saying they are unimportant. In contrast, 89% think battery life is critical and 65% want a high quality camera.