Details: The iPhone 5 could include a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip that allows for, among other things, making mobile payments at stores. Google already has Google Wallet in place in the Galaxy Nexus and future Android phones, utilizing NFC payments through MasterCard and Visa programs. If rumors panned out, Apple would partner with MasterCard and its PayPass system exclusively.
Likelihood: Very high that a future iPhone will get NFC built in, as evidenced by Apple’s NFC-related patents and the growing market acceptance of mobile payments. That it’s in the iPhone 5 specifically? About 50/50.
General Mobile Mumblings
Shared “family plans” for data coming to Verizon coming soon
Details: Following up on Verizon’s previous statement about shared data plans, Engadget reports that indicators of said plans are showing up in software screenshots used to train employees on new offerings.
Likelihood: Pretty high, though “soon” could mean just an announcement of said plans during the first quarter of 2012.
Get excited?: If you feel that you’re paying too much for the small amount of data yourself and your spouse use up, sure. If you have kids with smartphones, this is playing with chemical fire.
Note: top image is a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, stretched out to about 11.6 inches, with width kept the same. Probably not the exact right form factor, but you get the idea.