Originally Posted by grungymegajeff
NFC is not a selling feature for me, as I'm not sure where I can use it in Canada. Is this for making payments similar to the tap to pay credit cards?
Tap to pay credit card systems are one potential use for NFC. Implementation is limited at the moment, but it's coming fast. CIBC is rolling out an NFC system already, and RBC and Visa are releasing a joint system that will work with all banks/credit cards next month. Beginning in 2013 or 2014 many Canadian transit systems, including the TTC in Toronto, plan to support fare payments via NFC (like the PRESTO cards but with your phone instead of the card).
NFC has other uses too. You can buy your own tags for a few dollars and very easily set them up for automation purposes. I have a tag in my car so that when I put my phone down where I normally leave it, it turns on bluetooth and connects to the car, turns on GPS, reads any incoming text messages aloud, and (just for fun) reads out the current date, time, and expected weather. When I get out of the car and swipe my phone past it, it switches back to normal. I have another one on the side of my washing machine, so if I swipe my phone past it when I turn the machine on, it sets a timer for 59 minutes (the normal load time on my machine). Another one on my desk at work that turns off my ringer when I put my phone down. Another one in my wallet allows me to quickly add myself as a contact to NFC enabled Blackberrys and Android phones (if they choose, I can't do it surreptitiously).
I don't want to turn this into a referendum on how useful NFC is. I know it's mostly limited at the moment to the super-geeky, like myself; most people would never bother to go to the lengths I've gone to with NFC tags. And even when NFC payment systems become ubiquitous in a few years many people will still have no interest. However, I'm interested and I really believe the technology is going to be huge in the next two years, and so the absence really turns me off the iPhone 5. And if you buy an iPhone 5 on a three-year term, I'd bet that NFC will have a lot more common use in years two and three of your contract, and those people will have to wait until late 2015 to make use of it. Including it would help future-proof the iPhone.
It's still a good phone without NFC, and it's absence isn't the end of the world by any means. It's just disappointing that Apple would forgo NFC again.