Passbook in iOS 6 will change retail

Apple is going to ship iOS 6 with a new app called Passbook. The Passbook app will keep all your passes and cards in one place – on your iPhone.

A new service called  PassRocket empowers businesses to create passes straight from the iPhone or iPod Touch. It will launch the same day as iOS 6 which is September 19, 2012.

Just missed out on 10% discount

This week I received a text message from a retailer saying that today is my last day to use the 10% off coupon they sent me via mail. Where is this coupon? Off course it’s at home and I am at work. So, I wont be able to use the coupon. That is annoying.
I am sure you were in a similar situation before. If only we could have that coupon on our iPhone. Soon you can – with Passbook.

What’s in Passbook?

So Passbook will keep your boarding passes, store cards, coupons and loyalty cards in one app. Just open the Passbook app and show you coupon – done.

I believe that Passbook with change the retail landscape and make the use of passes and cards super easy. All passes have a barcode and the retailers can easily scan the pass. This is very standard technology and every retail shop will be able to scan Passbook cards. All the retailer really needs is an iPod touch and an app that is able to scan passes. is offering a solution for small retailers to scan Passbook cards via an iOS device.

Are you using coffee cards?

Let’s say you have a three coffee cards in your Passbook and each of those cafes is in a different suburb then the iPhone will pop up a notification whenever you are in proximity to any of those cafes. That s a great feature for the coffee shop owner since you are reminded to come in and have a cup.

Getting passes onto your iPhone

Let’s say the coffee shop owner has already a loyalty card system that uses paper cards and stamps then they may decide to continue with that for their customers that don’t have iOS 6.

For iOS 6 customers the coffee shop owner could use a service like to create a template for the coffee cards. Then customers could just download those cards from and get it delivered directly into Passbook. The next time they go to the coffee shop they would present the passbook card to the barista. The barista would then scan the pass and the bonus will be added to the customer’s card. The customer will get a message saying that their card was updated and how many more times they need to visit before they get a free brewage. The keynote presentation showcased Starbucks coffee cards, so it’s probabely safe to assume that Starbucks will be able to use Passbook cards as soon as iOS 6 becomes available.

Store cards

I would really love to have my store cards in Passbook. Space in my wallet is limited and I really don’t want to have cards in there which I only use once a month. If more consumers think like me then this is a problem for the retailers. They are not getting the full benefit of their store card system. I just hope that all retailers will offer Passbook-compatible cards when iOS 6 comes out. Judging by the Apple keynote in June Target in US will have a store card.

Boarding passes

Some airlines provide boarding passes for mobile phones. That’s great. With Passbook it becomes even better since the boarding pass has more smarts then a piece of paper. A boarding pass in Passbook will remind you before your flight is leaving or when the gate changes. The boarding pass will come up automatically as your iPhone detects that you are close to the airport. This makes the whole travel experience much nicer.

What’s next with Passbook?

If the next iPhone comes with a near field communication (NFC) chip then using your Passbook passes becomes even easier. Opening the pass you want to use and swiping the iPhone over the counter in your coffee shops will add the credits to your card.

Could it become your wallet?

I think that is where Passbook is going int he long run – it will become your wallet. With NFC credit cards available today it does not take much imagination to see credit cards in Passbook. However, this would depend on Visa and Mastercard to be willing to get onto the iPhone.

Apple could certainly use the Apple ID as a means to perform transactions as they do already today in the Apple Store app. So today, if you want to buy a product in a US Apple Store you can do this with the Apple Store app and it’s using your credit card that is linked to your Apple ID. Just walk into the store, scan the item and pay. It’s all self-service.

I doubt that Apple will allow any retailer to use the Apple ID to pay for goods. But Apple certainly shows the retail industry where the way. There is probably no smoother shopping experience than in the Apple Retail Stores.

Where to go from here?

There are a couple of Passbook services popping up.
Check out  PassRocket which allows you to create passes on the fly direct from the iPhone or iPod Touch.


Our next article will look at how retailers will benefit from Passbook.