re: iPhone 5's 'One More Thing': NFC?
@ Andrew, whatever one thinks of the recent Samsung trial, it's not an apt comparison here. One can quibble around the edges but on the whole it's fair to say that Apple consolidated lots of ideas, innovated others and created a game changing smartphone that others have directly and indirectly imitated ever since. There's a legitimate question whether some of the imitated features were truly patentable inventions but that's for another day.
Point is that this situation is not at all the same. NFC wasn't designed or invented by Google or RIM nor will device makers be able to define its standards. The chips are purchased from outside vendors and financial processing will be done in cooperation with outside institutions.
Presumably Samsung and RIM have applied a look and feel to the limited range of NFC functions they currently support. There's no reason to believe that Apple will clone their look and feel. If they do imitate some non-obvious elements then there will be something to talk about on that front..
A better comparison would be adding a quad four processor or a faster graphics card or bluetooth capabilities to a device. There's always a first adopter and bragging rights go with that.
No question that Apple wasn't the first to include an NFC chip in a smartphone. The question is why and the answer is that they apparently didn't see enough real-world usage on the immediate horizon to warrant it. I can't say they were wrong. Paid by swiping your phone anywhere, anyone? NFC has been a great idea for several years.
Things are shifting though. We've all been hearing the same rumbles. PayPal, Starbucks, Square. Apple only releases one product upgrade per year and by next year they may have missed the wave. So now's the time, they reckon. They make their connector smaller (necessary to make more space within the device but boo!). They reconfigure and in goes an NFC chip. (or not.)
Which means what? Well it could be the tipping point because there are more iPhones out there than there are any other single devices. The current version of iOS is the least fragmented environment in town, for now. If Apple can bring the players together and do a deal with them yes it'll be a difference maker. Even absent Mr. Jobs, don't discount that possibility. . .