Apple files a lot of patents that never come to the market. But this interesting patent has Apple equipping Macs with near field communication (NFC) capabilities. Pair this with an iPhone or iPod touch, and you've got something really special.
Macs can be turned into cash registers for mobile payment and other potential mobile uses.
Supposed if you're buying grocery. You can pick all the things you need, go into the market, link your iPhone to the NFC-Mac and tell them what you've ordered and the people in the supermarket can put your order together for you. This is just my simple application of how I think it could work. I am certain smarter folks than I am are already salivating over the possibilities.
The current iPhone 4 has no NFC capability and it is possible that Apple might offer NFC features in the next iPhone update. There are rumors about it but no one knows for sure. There is also a chance that Apple will forgo offering NFC until 2012 since NFC adoption has not taken off. Only Google is offering trials at this time in Portland, Oregon.
There have been other mobile payment methods. For instance, I've been paying for my Starbucks drinks since app Card app was made available and it requires no special hardware. On the other hand, if Apples does offer NFC capability in the next iPhone slated for release later this year, it would be just the right signal to the mobile market, carriers, device makers, and other industries that is it "okay" to adopt its use.
As someone who hates carrying around his wallet around and considers his iPhone more dear than his driver license, I can't wait for the future to start.