At ABI Research, we have been saying for a long time that Apple will eventually include NFC in its smartphones, even when it was working on the use of Bluetooth Smart. Apple even included NFC in its smartwatch. With Bluetooth Smart's ability to detect distance, you could have it activate only in close proximity like NFC. To the end user, the functionality was the same, but NFC adds a layer of security required banks and mobile operators.
Apple's big focus around NFC was Apply Pay since it wants to promote that, but there are many uses for NFC. We believe the most compelling are its application with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which are highly ubiquitous. In 2011, the NFC Forum and Bluetooth SIG announced their developers guide for using NFC to pair Bluetooth. In June 2014, this guide was updated to include Bluetooth Smart. In April 2014, the NFC Forum and Wi-Fi Alliance announced that Wi-Fi Protected Setup added NFC as an option to set up a secure Wi-Fi connection. If you want to pair your smartphone with a smartwatch, just tap them together. If you want to connect your smartphone to a new Wi-Fi access point, just touch it with your phone. If you want to use keyboards, mice, and other peripherals - just tap them. If you want to use your Bluetooth speakers with different smartphones or tablets, just tap the one you want to stream from. NFC is picking up in various peripheral products, and is making its way into all-in-one PCs and ultraportable PCs. Eventually it will be in most devices and peripherals. Apple should have made note of this. Payments are an important part of NFC to be sure, but NFC is so complimentary with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi that its future lies in integration alongside other wireless connectivity technologies.