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Apple Mobile Payment Rumors Rise Again

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It's been just three months since Apple debuted its latest iPhone, and already there are fresh predictions about what the next model will do and what it will mean for payments.

Despite years of predictions that Apple would add a Near Field Communication chip for payments, no iPhone model has been built with that technology. Meanwhile, a growing number of Android phones, Windows phones and even tablets are being built with NFC chips that support mobile payments. 

But perhaps the fresh rumors are a red herring — Apple's next move in payments may focus instead on its television-related products.

Image: Bloomberg News

The most recent prediction comes from New York-based Jefferies Group Inc. analyst Peter Misek, who follows Apple closely and regularly predicts the next steps the technology giant will take.

His predictions for the next iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 5S, involve the addition of an NFC chip, an updated screen and battery, and the availability of multiple colors, according to a MacRumors summary of the report. Currently the iPhone is sold only in black and white. 

Misek bases his latest research on the iPhone 5S through checks on Apple’s supply chain.

Misek also casts some attention on iTV, a rumored Apple television. Apple currently offers standalone computer displays as well as a media-streaming device, Apple TV, which connects to common home televisions.

Misek recently predicted that Apple will release a product called iTV in May or June of 2013, but has recast that prediction to September or October.

PayPal Inc. has been developing a method for purchasing items advertised on TV through a PayPal account, so it is not out of the question that Apple would eventually seek a similar interactive process for consumers to make purchases of products on their TV screens. 

Or Apple could blend TV and social media to allow purchases through TV shows, similar to what American Express has established with Fox Broadcasting Co. and NBCUniversal

The Apple TV media-streaming device may also be getting an upgrade, with a focus on using Bluetooth signals to communicate with other devices, TechCrunch reports. 

Though the update appears to be focused on allowing keyboards, some mobile payment systems use Bluetooth signals to communicate payment data

Misek speculates that Apple is accelerating its update cycle on the iPhone, in the same manner as it did with the iPad this year, to be more competitive.

However, Apple's moves are notoriously difficult to predict, despite the prevalence of publicly available patents that would seem to describe the company's plans.

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