Apple Passbook Points to the Smart Wallet

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

We have been writing on how few of the mobile wallet conceptions being proposed are truly “smart.” Many are just a means of moving payment credentials, loyalty cards, or coupons onto a smartphone instead of into a cowhide wallet. None of that’s very interesting.

At this week’s WorldWide Developers Conference, Apple announced a new feature for its mobile iOS operating system called Passbook. It’s a tool to manage and use barcode based representations of tickets, cards, and payments. If that were all, Passbook would still be in the pack. But using geolocation, Passbook presents the correct barcode based on location. So, it won’t present your Starbucks payment barcode when you’re running through the TSA security line for an American Airlines flight.

There’s speculation that this is just the beginning of Apple’s foray into payments and commerce transactions. The cogitators are considering what this portends for an NFC-equipped iPhone, perhaps due out this fall. All of that’s more likely than it was before. But the message here should not be taken that NFC is the end-state of commerce transaction evolution. NFC will be one strong limb on that tree. Another major branch will utilize what’s also available on the handset and in the cloud. With just two out of three elements, the “smart wallet” can evolve. Apple’s Passbook looks to be pointing the way.

From the UK Telegraph:

The new app was pitched by Apple executives on Monday as a user-friendly holder for electronic cinema tickets, boarding passes and Starbucks vouchers, all of which use barcodes on-screen. The iPhone will detect if you’re at the airport, for instance, and fish out the relevant electronic documents.

“Passbook takes all of these passes and combines them together in one place, and integrates it right into the OS, and they are beautiful,” said Scott Forstall, the man in charge of iOS and tipped as future leader of Apple.

Click here to read more from the UK Telegraph.