Rumors surrounding an NFC-equipped iPhone from Apple date back to last summer, when Apple hired NFC expert Benjamin Vigier as its Commerce Product Manager. Speculation surrounding how Apple might use NFC dates back even further, of course, considering the many NFC-related Apple patents that have been revealed in the past. On Monday, the flames were rekindled yet again as The New York Times reported Apple will include NFC chips from Qualcomm in a future version of its iPhone handset. The Times’ report doesn’t specifically state that Apple’s next iPhone — referred to as the iPhone 5, for now — will include NFC capabilities, saying only that a “coming iteration” of Apple’s smartphone will include Qualcomm NFC chips. Following several reports however, many still anticipate that the iPhone 5 will indeed be the first Apple smartphone to include NFC capabilities. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone in June.