The next Apple iPhone might include features that could enable users not just to make phone calls but also to make purchases with their phones.
Buying a pair of jeans with an iPhone, a cup of coffee with an iPad or maybe movie tickets on a Droid could be an option in the near future.
And all it may require is pulling out a smart phone, or tablet, and waving it above a receiver or scanner -- as opposed to sliding a debit or credit card, or trading good ol' cash and coin.
Apple, for its part, is declining to comment.
Speaking to Bloomberg, analyst Richard Doherty of Envisioneering Group said the next iPhone and future iPads could be used to make purchases by transmitting financial information to receivers in stores over a distance of as much as 4 inches. Doherty cited Apple engineers working on such hardware for his information.
The iOS-device features could access a user's iTunes gift card info or credit-card and bank data, Bloomberg reported.
If Apple were to add such abilities to its mobile products, it could not only help the Cupertino company tap into a $6.2-trillion pool of money that U.S. consumers spend each year but could also enable the company to cut out credit-card processing fees on every purchase currently made through iTunes, the report said.
The Financial Times ran a similar report today about pay-by-phone features coming to the iPhone, citing "Asian suppliers and others who have been in talks with Apple."
The report also noted that BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, as well as smart-phone and tablet competitors that use Google's Android operating system, are also adding near-field features into upcoming devices.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A visitor inspects an Apple iPhone 4 at the Apple Worldwide Developers conference in San Francisco in June. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images