NFC technology comes to the iPhone 4 thanks to the Japanese carrier SoftBank, which is offering Sony's FeliCa payment system for the iPhone 4. The system includes an NFC-enabled "seal" that affixes to the back of the iPhone 4 and is compatible with the official Apple bumper case. From the carrier's press release, the system functions independent of the iPhone, so you do not have to install specialized software for the system to work. Three different vendor systems will be available including those from WAON, Nanaco and Edy, a bitWallet solution. This NFC solution will be available for ¥2,980 (US$36) starting February 2011.
Of course, iPhone customers interested in NFC technology may want to wait for the iPhone 5 to arrive. The next generation iPhone may include an integrated NFC chip that would let you use your smartphone as an electronic wallet, a security passkey or even an eTicketing device for concerts, conferences and more. Such capabilities would boost the iPhone above the Android-powered Nexus S, which is being used in an NFC pilot program for local businesses in Portland, Oregon.