Pictures of the Passbook screen on iOS 6 (Photo : Apple)
All the kids are back to school and the election season is underway, but it would not be a long shot to call September 2012 the month of Apple Inc. After all, the biggest buzz on the internet is not whether Obama or Romney are fit to govern the country but whether the iPhone 5 is all it's cracked up to be.
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Of course, there is also the conversation of the iOS 6, the operating system that will launch with the new iPhone and will be readily available to all current and prospective iPad users in coming weeks. Apple has yet to announce when the operating system will launch but details have surfaced and new features have been all but announced. Among the most popular are the new Apple mapping system and an updated Siri.
But the app that may be the game changer is Passbook.
The application essentially saves movie tickets, boarding passes, retail coupons in your phone and enables you to utilize them when you arrive at the destination to utilize said passes. The major trepidation that has come from critics is whether or not this will be as big a failure as past attempts by tech giants to replace the wallet. Google has been pushing their own digital wallets for a while, but has only had limited success. Microsoft has already made it clear that they will attempt it as well with Microsoft 8, but Apple is the one generating the buzz and garnering the support.
Delta and American Airlines have already made it clear that they will update their mobile apps to support Passbook. With the new features, customers will be able to present their virtual boarding pass and all the details can be gotten through a bar code scan from an authorized airline employee.
Another prevalent concern is that of security. Wouldn't a digital wallet create more safety problems? Apple seems to have that base covered with the acquisition of AuthenTec, a company that specializes in fingerprint recognition technology.
Website PassK.it has created a pass creation service to enable users to create and distribute their own Passbook passes. This could be of great for small businesses looking to distribute coupons across the web. Another site, PassSource has also created a similar service.
Most people are likely not considering it, but the new Passbook is also great for the environment and even better for helping people keep themselves organized. It may also spell the end for plastic credit cards as banks and credit card services may start to update their apps to allow debit and credit cards to be accessed from phones. We have already seen Chase enable users to snap pictures of checks and send them to the bank for deposits. Who says credit cards won't be readily avaiable through an app?
Even if Siri can now help you find information on new businesses and locations, Passbook may be the defining feature on the iOS 6.