With the dawn of Apple’s new iOS 6 imminent, and most people of the firm belief that it is going to be released within the next 36 hours (depending on which part of the globe you are in). There is a growing interest on the new Apple Passbook which is effectively announcing Apple’s deep dive into the mobile wallet space. To put this into perspective, this is going to be a standard part of the new iOS 6 which means all of Apple’s iPhone/iPad and other iDevices will receive this in their next operating system update. Thats a lot of people (read that ‘millions’) with it automatically on their phone without needing to install a particular application.
“Passbook gives users a whole new way to organize boarding passes, tickets, gift cards, and loyalty cards. You can bring up passes in your app with Pass Kit APIs or send them via email or post them on the web. You can set items to appear at certain times or locations and update items with push notifications.” ~ Apple
The App is fully integrated into the Apple system, shared of course across multiple devices in the iCloud. The Apple Passbook will have application interfaces for the central storage of:-
- Gift Cards
- Loyalty Cards
- Reward Cards
- Incentive Cards, and
The possibility for innovations lies ahead with a myriad of organisations looking to build into the wallet of consumers. Apple describes how the application works: “Passbook puts boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards and more are now all in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod to check in for a flight, get a movie, and redeem a coupon. You can also see when your coupons expire, where your concert seats are, and the balance left on that all important coffee bar card. Wake your iPhone or iPod touch, and passes appear on your Lock screen at the appropriate time and place — like when you reach the airport or walk into the store to redeem your gift card or coupon. And, if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal.”
Companies have already been testing out their new methods of Passbook integration, with Virgin Airlines already being noted as having it in place for those with iOS 6 working on their iPhone 4S (usually iPhone Developers or those who know one). The possibilities seem endless from movie tickets being uploaded onto your iPhone, concert events, bus tickets (perhaps it can solve MyKi – who knows yet) and payment gateways.
How it Looks
It looks rather elegant, and the deck of cards style assures that all passes get some equal viewing and can be seen. It also appears in the notifications and iPhone lock wndows. So you should never have any issues finding, which can be important as you run to the terminal for that flight. I would expect that the sorting will be more refined as updates and useability feedback start to filter through from the Apple fanbase.
How it Works
At the risk of being gunned down by some developers thinking that this is trying to ‘dumb down’ their technological world, lets view it this way. A service or product providers system completes the traditional transaction (online or retail or phone) and it should generate a passkey. The passkey should have included into it the information for the event, receipt, location, date and time. The passkey will be issued to you via email, download or can be uploaded by the user. They then carry the key and are able to obtain updates automatically.
Geolocation – Call it what you will, this is where Apple starts to get into Near Field Communications (NFC). This means that your store card, loyalty cards and such will alert you when you are in a location that gets you a reward. For the massive organisations like Show Your Card & Save for those with (Auto club membership), this will let you know when you are near a place that gives you a discount. This will also be included into the ‘Lock Screen’. Your flight ticket will automatically be uploaded when you are at the airport and your movie ticket will appear when you walk into the cinema. In the near future, retailers will be able to send out offers to people in their stores who have the functionality enabled. Imagine offering a new song track to an audience of 80,000 while they are at the concert – click and download the new song and listen on the way home.
Live Updates – details change, this is a fact of life. The Passbook application will automatically get the new details and present them to you on the go.
Calendar/Reminders – For the smarter developers who include date, time and location information into their passkey generated for the Passbook application, this information will be integrated into the calender and reminder of the users.
The opportunities for innovation around travel are already pouring through with bar codes and the growing QR Codes.
It would seem the next step for Apple is payment cards. While it is not likely that they will be inclined to step into the arena with Visa and Mastercard, it is likely that they will seek to become a conduit for them. Either way, the iPhone is setting a clear path to become even more integrated into our lives.