Next-gen Apple iPhone to offer wave-to-pay, video conferencing, and more?

“China Unicom has started advertising Apple’s iPhone… [Of interest are] some of the advanced features Unicom is promoting,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “As Dan Butterfield reported early Wednesday on his iPhonAsia website, these include several functions that aren’t officially available on current model iPhones, including:”

• Wave-to-pay
• Mobile TV
• Tethering (connecting a laptop to a cell phone’s wireless network)
• Video conferencing

Elmer-DeWitt reports, “The first item — wave-to-pay — is of particular interest to Chinese customers, according to Butterfield. Visa Inc. offers similar service in the United States, called Paywave, whereby cardholders can make purchases at some 32,000 retailers by waving their Visa card in front of special point-of-sale cardreaders. In Japan, half of cell phone owners — about 50 million users — carry phones that have so-called near field communications capability built-in.”

Elmer-DeWitt wonders, “Will the next-generation iPhone — expected to arrive in July — also have it? China Unicom seems to think so…”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The more time that passes, the eerier this gets:

This device, able to be made today with current technology, would easily be “The Device.” Running Mac OS X or a mobile variant, it would allow the user to communicate via text, audio, and video. It would snap digital photos and organize them, do email, and browse the web. It would sync automatically with your desktop or portable Mac…. It would absorb the iPod by playing AAC / MP3 audio and interface with iTunes, but it would also play feature-length MPEG-4 movies, too, in full color… It would have built-in Bluetooth, which would allow for, among other things, short-range personal broadcasts; your own radio/TV station and any number of websites in your pocket. McDonald’s Drive Thru’s would accept payments via Bluetooth from “The Device.” And, of course, it would have the basics like any PDA; your date book, to do list, calculator, etc. I figure a form factor about the size or a Newton or a bit smaller would do the trick.

This would be “The Device.” iDevice?? And only Apple, in concert with a partner like Verizon, Cingular, or Sprint, has everything in place to make “The Device” a reality today. I wonder if they are close, yet, or still far away from fruition? I really hope they are building it. Everything seems to point to it or am I just wishing too hard? I’ll tell you one thing, if Apple can produce it, they’ll really change everything this time, and they’ll never be able to make enough. Nearly everyone would have an Apple device in their pocket…SteveJack, MacDailyNews, December 10, 2002

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