When Tim Cook and his cohorts took to the stage to introduce us to the next-generation of iOS, we were pretty much expecting most of the announcements which were rumored beforehand. However, as the demonstration of iOS 6 continued, there was a couple of little additions that took us by surprise and had managed to slip through the rumor net which led up to the event. One of those surprises came in the form of Passbook, a new iOS stock app which offers a new and efficient way for users to store tickets, coupons, gift cards and vouchers in one central place for easy access later on.
Fast-forward a month or so and we started to see the bigger picture for the Passbook app as Apple were awarded a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office which was heavily Passbook-based and focused on allowing users to seamlessly check into services at an airport. The ticketing side of things is only really one trick in Passbook’s box, as Apple is creating a system and service that is not only time and location-based, but has the ability to let users do wondrous things like get into a movie, redeem coupons or check into flights all from their iPhone or iPod touch.
Until iOS 6 is launched to the world and we can actually get our hands on a fully functioning Passbook app, we will have to rely on iOptimal’s simulated shopping experience to give us a real-world example of how Apple’s latest software could work on a daily basis. The company behind the video make their living as an app services company and have used their own expertise and knowledge in the field to throw together a creation that can interact with Passbook in order to show what is possible with the app.
The simulated experience revolves around the use of an internal mapping system built into a demonstration app that shows the purposely created coupons and discount offers from local vendors within a half mile radius of the experiment zone. Pulling up the coupons and adding them to Passbook allows the shopper to redeem the offer in the store and then have the barcode scanned by the vendor to ‘consume’ the coupon and therefore destroying it. The video doesn’t really show us anything which Apple hadn’t covered in their Passbook discussion on-stage, but it is the first time that we have seen someone actually attempt to show it off from the perspective of the everyday user.
We still don’t really have any concrete understanding of what Apple intends to do with Passbook in the long-term, and although its current form serves as a great option for those who regularly make use of store cards and coupon type offerings, we can’t help but think that Apple have some master plan for when they eventually introduce NFC technology into their devices.