The upcoming release of iOS6 will feature an app by Apple called Passbook. It will be a stepping stone to Apples entrance into the Digital Wallet arena. A digital wallet allows users to make electronic commerce transactions quickly and securely. There are already many players in the mobile payment space: Square, Sprint, Visa, Mastercard, Amazon, AT&T, Paypal etc.. They all are developing or have developed diverse platforms utilizing different technologies.
Out of the gate Passbook supports the following:
- Boarding Passes
- Gift Cards
- Event Tickets
What Passbook will offer:
- Groupon and Living Social vouchers
- Possible credit cards aka Mobile payments
Passbook in the words of Apple:
Your 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 touch to check in for a flight, get into 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.
Apple plays the long game. It does not release game changing apps that have an affect right off the bat. They improve on the idea through timely updates that before anyone knew it, the intended consequence come to light to the public. I believe Passport is one of those ideas by Apple. They already have a robust virtual ecosystem in the App Store. Adding an iTunes section for Passport makes perfect sense. Record companies will be able to sell tickets through the iTunes Store, completely bypassing Ticketmaster and other venues. The complete cutting out of those middlemen will reduce scalping, reduce ticket prices without hurting the artists. The business model may be tricky and negotiations will still be ongoing.
I envisage a time where I can buy my movie tickets, my Starbucks coffee, redeem my gift cards to various retailers, my Living Social vouchers, and those Buddy Guy tickets in November; all through the Apple iTunes Store.