A report from Bloomberg this week highlights the possibility that the next model of iPhone and iPad could include “near field communication” or NFC for short. The technology allows that can send and receive information wirelessly over a distance of about 4 inches.

Bloomberg cites Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group who says that NFC will be embedded in the iPhone 5 and iPad 2, both of which are set to be released later this year.

NFC has many uses but the most popular are the ability to pay small amounts for goods in shops acting as a debit/credit card. NFC is also applied to many transport systems around the world allowing money to be stored on an NFC device and debited by tapping onto gateways at transport locations.

Bloomberg writes that, “Apple has created a prototype of a payment terminal that small businesses, such as hairdressers and mom-and-pop stores, could use to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads”.