One leading rumor about the upcoming iPhone 5 took a hit when the United Kingdom’s The Independent reported that an unnamed source said Apple told mobile operators not to expect near-field technology (NFC) in the next iPhone model. The source said that Apple is concerned “by the lack of a clear standard across the industry.”

Rumors that Apple has been planning to put NFC in the iPhone 5 — and the iPad 2 — have been circulating since the company hired near-field communications expert Benjamin Vigier.

If Apple is indeed ditching the technology for now, that leaves the field wide open for Google. The company, which already has NFC in its Nexus S, is said to be buying thousands of NFC terminals for San Francisco and New York.The terminals let customers swipe the Nexus S or other NFC-enabled gadget across the receiver to make purchases.

According to Bloomberg, the test-runs for the devices are supposed to start in about four months.

Other companies are jumping on the NFC bandwagon, as well. RIM managing director Steven Bates said in January that the company will be putting NFC in “virtually all” its devices. And the GSM Association said that the world’s leading mobile operators had committed to the technology in January.

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