Likelihood: Low, At Least This Year
Apple last year bought mobile security company AuthenTec, which makes biometric sensors. So what? Well, the acquisition ties in nicely with a rumor that has Apple adding a fingerprint sensor to the iPhone 5S, a touch-friendly feature that could turn the home button into a security device and hence make it more appealing (with built-in NFC technology) for mobile payments.
While the addition of biometric and NFC chips are essential for the iPhone's evolution, the burning question is whether Apple will add these capabilities to this year's iPhone 5S -- or perhaps wait until next year's iPhone 6. With the slow uptake of NFC on the Android side of things, Apple could easily wait until 2014 to fine-tune the integration of biometrics, NFC and its Passbook mobile payment app.