Some recent upgrades to Apple’s retail stores may indicate that Near Field Communication (NFC) technology may come to the next iPhone. The technology, which allows for short-range wireless communication for activities like purchasing items at retail outlets, has been rumored to be included in the next iPhone but very little information is yet available.

BGR is reporting that it has been informed by sources of a series of upgrades that have been performed at Apple Retail Stores related to their payment system. Apple currently uses iPod touch devices in a special cradle that extends their battery life to take payments from customers.

The upgrades, which may relate to adding support for NFC payment include:

  • All of the point-of-sale devices (iPod touches) went offline for maintenance recently, leaving customers unable to purchase through them.
  • There have been several overnight sessions installing new ‘TBD’ devices that will help to grow the retail segment of Apple.
  • New tables with built-in cash wraps and different wiring than the older tables have been put in place.

If these upgrades are intended to upgrade Apple’s retail stores to support NFC technology then it’s a safe bet that the next iPhone will most likely support it. Apple has a history of making sure that their stores act as demo locations for their devices, a friendly home if you will. They have enough locations now that they could use their stores as a demonstration platform for the relatively new technology that most consumers won’t be familiar with.

Apple is also rumored to be preparing for an event of some sort to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Apple Retail Stores.