Rumor Mill: iPhone 6 to contain faster LTE support, NFC and wireless charging

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) next iPhone will sport an improved LTE radio that can support faster theoretical peak speeds, Near Field Communications technology, wireless charging and a much bigger screen, according to a VentureBeat report.

The report, citing an unnamed source "close to the situation," reveals a few new details about the next iPhone, which is expected to be called the iPhone 6 and released this fall. Although rumors have been floating for months that the next iPhone will contain a larger screen, perhaps as large as 5.5 inches, few other details about what technologies might be included have surfaced.  The new iPhone is nearing completion, the report added, and is now being tested for its durability, speed, and network performance.

An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the report, the new iPhone 6 will contain a faster Category 6 LTE radio that supports theoretical peak downlink speeds of up to 300 Mbps. The iPhone 5s and 5c have Cat 3 LTE radios, which can support theoretical peak downlink speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

One longtime feature that has never been included in an iPhone is NFC, which can support wireless payments and other contactless data transfers. The report said Apple was ready to include NFC in last year's iPhones but pulled back because it did not feel the mobile payments market was mature enough yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal in April that mobile payments are an "interesting" market. "We have almost 800 million iTunes accounts and the majority of those have credit cards behind them," he said. "We already have people using Touch ID to buy things across our store, so it's an area of interest to us. And it's an area where nobody has figured it out yet. I realize that there are some companies playing in it, but you still have a wallet in your back pocket and I do, too, which probably means it hasn't been figured out just yet."

The report said it is likely that Apple will go with its own mobile payments standard, putting it into competition with Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Wallet and the Isis mobile payments ecosystem that is backed by Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS). That could increase fragmentation in already fragmented market.

The report also said Apple will include a surface under the shell of the iPhone 6 that can connect to an inductive charging surface for energy transfers and charging. However, it's unclear which wireless charging standard Apple will support. There are three competing standards today: the Qi wireless charging standard, which is backed by the Wireless Power Consortium, the Alliance for Wireless Power and the Power Matters Alliance.

For more:
- see this VentureBeat article
- see this Business Insider article 

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Correction, June 11, 2014: This article incorrectly stated the type of LTE radios in the iPhone 5s and 5c. The phones support Category 3 LTE, with theoretical peak speeds of up to 100 Mbps.