Sometimes it is just as important to note what faetures Apple does NOT put in to a product as it is what they do. The first iPhone (2007), for example, did not include features available in smartphones of that period: Copy and paste, multitasking, 3G (to a lesser extent) and even native software applications (apps). Everyone expects a fifth generation iPhone to emerge sometime this year. It looks like it will be missing at least two high profile features for 2011. The first missing feature is support for the so-called 4G wireless data networks. The second is Near Field Communications (NFC).
Next iPhone Will NOT Have NFC Mobile Payments, Says Bernstein (Business Insider)
While most of the interest and discussion about NFC has focused on mobile commerce, it is a general purpose method of secure short range data transfer and can be used for many other purposes. Check out the item about Stanford University’s MobiSocial lab yesterday for some examples.
If Apple does not support 4G and NFC in 2011, it could be viewed as a strategic omission as were the features left out of the 2007 iPhone “1”. It may in fact be the case that 4G and NFC are not mature enough in 2011 to worry about. However, if either feature becomes important marketing checkboxes this year, Android (which supports 4G and NFC) could increase its existing marketshare lead over the iPhone going into 2012.