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In fact, what makes Apple the company they are now is not what they do, it's how they WAIT to release new features and functions until they're satisfied with it.
iPod: Rio came out with it first
iPad: Tablets have been around since the early 2000's
iPhone: Cell phones with touch functionality were around well before then (I still have my Treo sitting on my desk)
The same is for NFC; the technology has been in use for years in Europe and Asia. What's exciting with all these speculations is how Apple will choose to implement it.