Apple’s holder for electronic items shows great promise.
The reporting of the latest Apple iPhone has been consuming the news cycles with all that it has to offer. Or not offer in the case of the problematic Apple maps and all the quality issues which are showing up. At some point, Apple will get that resolved and the problems will go away. But the big take away is for Apple’s Passbook feature which is part of iOS 6 and holds lots of promise for what it can do for you. And that is even though Apple has not included the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip in the iPhone 5. Apple has decided to not jump in the middle of NFC and all the fragmentation which has been going on this year.
Their new Passbook feature provides them with an alternative to the not yet ready NFC and one that looks to be extremely popular. Though it was just released last week, things are already up and running. Major League Baseball (MLB) is on board at the start using Passbook for electronic tickets at 4 league ball parks. And many others are going to be providing their app to be used in conjunction with Passbook. While Starbucks already had their app for handling payments, they are going to be adding a new app for buying your Starbucks coffee contained in Psasbook. And they are just one of many.
And there is work under way to use Passbook for tickets at College games this year via StubHub. Target is providing coupons in Passbook which can be redeemed from scanning the screen. Airlines are moving towards using the Passbook interface for displaying electronic boarding passes instead of paper ones. Amtrak is working to get it operational for tickets and the list is going to continue to grow quickly.
All of this shows that Passbook is going to set a new standard which the rest of the industry is going to have to follow in order to keep up. For the next year, the concept of a Passbook is going to be followed by others. Including Android, as this is a very hot idea and one that has needed to be implemented for holding things in a Mobile Wallet which you previously had to hold in your physical wallet. That is the technology shift which we all thought might be in place earlier this year. But Passbook is not focused around making payments and that is the beauty of it.
The future for Passbook seems to be wide open right now and may continue that way for a long time. Think about putting those annoying gift cards into Passbook instead of carrying them around. That would be novel. Or those cards you carry for being a loyal customer. Instead of carrying them in your wallet, they would be in your phone. It would be great to reduce the size of my wallet by removing a few cards.
And there is nothing to stop Apple from implementing a different method for making mobile payments. Some have speculated that Apple could use BlueTooth to accomplish mobile payments instead of relying on NFC. That may not work with some of the new POS devices, but it could be possible. And I am sure that Apple is already looking at alternatives for doing Mobile Payments.
It is all about the future and Passbook shows us the future now.