By Jonathan Charles | Apr 30, 2012 12:45 PM EDT
The iPhone 5 could be revealed as early as WWDC in June, ahead of a possible launch in the third quarter of this year. Regarding new features in the device, a new patent reveals potential NFC integration and the ability to pay with the phone.
Specifically, the patent - revealed on Patently Apple - shows iTunes purchases through NFC or e-mail and the ability to share playlists through a "gifting" process. The process works by the user potentially authorizing a gift charge, and then sending the item across an established connection. The receiving device may be able to send an acceptance message after receiving the gift. This is done over NFC.
When the receiver accepts the gift, the account info becomes associated with the original media file from iTunes to ensure there's a known owner of the file. If the sender can't pay for the item, then the receiver can choose to pay for instead.
There's also the option for the sender to submit an official request through iTunes, which processes the request and charges the initiator's account for the file. Apple would then create a gift file specifically for the receiver with keys such as a DRM key, so there's no chance of copyright infringement. Another version of the patent tasks the sender with creating the gift file, as iTunes sends the user the DRM key.
Multiple gifts can also be sent in a single transaction; gifts can be customized through voice greetings and custom gift images, among other features most likely, which could hide the gift's identity before being opened.
The process will likely be the standard process for sending and receiving gifts across Apple's iOS platform.
On March 6, Apple won a patent for technology called "iWallet." This allows users to control financial accounts, and supports sending and receiving credit card transactions through iPhones via NFC. iWallet also allows users to view bank statements, messages, edit credit card profiles and set parental controls for children. There's a chance the technology could be integrated into other services, though that depends on whether Apple opens up the APIs to developers. iWallet also allows users to keep track of payments and statements within the iTunes billing system.
(reported by Jonathan Charles, edited by Dave Clark)