Where We're Headed: NFC. Yawn, right? Sure, near-field communication on phones is gaining in popularity, but it's still a feature that’s rarely used. Rarer still are NFC-enabled headphones, speakers or other tap-to-pair gizmos. Plus, mobile wallet adoption has been slow, perhaps because the iPhone still lacks NFC or because people don't trust their phone to secure their money. But Apple will eventually embrace NFC as if it had invented the technology, along with a range of tap-to-pair ear buds and docks from its accessory partners.
Prediction: Yes, eventually, we'll wave our smartphone at the checkout counter to pay for sundries and tap-to-pair our smartphones with our smart TVs and computers to transfer captured visuals. In an NFC-enabled world, you'll use your smartphone to ride mass transit, open hotel rooms or your own front door, and get into events — in short, in 2018, you'll use your NFC smartphone to access anything you'd currently use a card or key to access.