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Apple device update season is near and, like clockwork, the rumor mill has kicked in high gear. The latest evidence points to a September unveiling of the next iPhone, a smaller version of the iPad, and the long-rumored Apple HDTV. Those last two are debatable, but the iPhone 5 is all but certain, and it’s expected to include the hot technology known as near field communication. From payments to gameplay, here’s how an NFC-equipped iPhone could change your life.

Near field communication is a short-range wireless protocol already used by some smartphones and other devices. A younger cousin to RFID, the technology is like a lower-power, shorter-distance version of Bluetooth. That might not sound like a big deal, but it opens up exciting possibilities.

Tags: ios