TIME

The Most Exciting Feature About the Next iPhone Is Unexpected

Here's what an iPhone screen made of sapphire would mean
Artur Debat—Moment Editorial/Getty Images

A huge change could be coming on Sept. 9

fortunelogo-blue
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt

It’s not official, but good journalists at Wired and the Financial Times reported Thursday that Apple’s next generation of consumer devices — iPhones for sure, wearable devices maybe — will come equipped with a NFC (near field communication) chip for making mobile payments.

This is big news, in part because Apple is so late to the NFC party.

The rest of the world switched to the technology years ago. Google, Samsung, Nokia, Sony, Blackberry, Visa, MasterCard. It’s the way credit cards talk to banks and retailers in most of the countries of Europe and Asia.

But not in the U.S.

That’s about to change. Visa and MasterCard have set an October 2015 deadline for U.S. retailers to switch from magnetic strips to embedded chips. If Apple wants in on the game, now’s the time.

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser