It begins again. The non-NFC-enabled iPhone 5 has been out for three months and already rumors the iPhone 5S (assuming Apple stays with the same naming convention it used with the iPhone 4/4S) will have NFC in it.

According to a post from NFC World, Apple is "likely" to launch an interim version of the iPhone 5 sometime in mid-2013, possibly as early as June. The post references a research note from investment bank Jefferies predicting that the interim iPhone 5 will feature NFC.

The prediction should be taken with a grain of salt, obviously. Myriad predictions about NFC in both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 proved to be incorrect.

That said, the continuing lack of NFC in the iPhone is no small thing. The iPhone represents approximately half of smartphone sales in the U.S. and owns 15 percent of worldwide market share.

According to Yankee Group analyst Nick Holland, speaking in a webinar about mobile trends for 2013, NFC won't become mainstream until Apple puts the technology into an iPhone.

And U.K. research firm Jupiter Research recently revised its projections for NFC transactions down from $180 billion to $110 billion by 2017 based on the omission of NFC in the iPhone 5.

For more stories like this, visit the contactless/NFC research center.

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