Apple playing it safe and smart
It's impossible to slow technology down.
With every incarnation of Apple's mobile iOS software, more solutions are
offered. One much talked about technology is known as NFC, and whether Apple
will be inserting it into their software the way Google has, and if they were
going to come out with their own version of a digital wallet.
NFC technology, or Near Field
Communication, allows two devices to communicate by touching each other.
In this case we're talking about how it allows for digital payment. Information
can be stored on your iPhone so that you can swipe it over a reader at a store
to pay for your items.
iOS 6 will indeed have a digital wallet,
called Passbook, and the version that is currently in developers' hands doesn't
include any NFC technology, leaving others to prognosticate whether it will be
added when the final version of the software comes out or whether Apple is
wisely deciding to lay low and let others find their way so that they can avoid
Patents NFC Tech for iOS Game Controller Use
Mobile phones are just another thing we
need to carry around in our pockets or purses. Wouldn't it be great to get rid
of some of that pocket and purse clutter by adding it into our mobile phones so
that we don't have to carry as much? While having many credit cards is not a
great practice for obvious reasons, many people do, and there never seems to be
enough slots in a purse or wallet to hold them all. Additionally, there are
also store loyalty cards, movie tickets, and boarding passes that get jammed
into purses and wallets. NFC technology and digital wallets exist to hopefully
get rid of some of that clutter.
Digital wallets are a way of recording all
the information from the multiple cards in your wallet, from your card to gift
cards and loyalty cards, as well as tickets, passes, and coupons. If it's all
in one place on your iPhone, you're less likely to lose them. And let's get
real —I'd leave my wallet someplace accidentally sooner than I would leave
While Apple is often the first one on the
market to debut new technology, they yet to make inroads with NFC or a digital
wallet. One of the first to utilize this technology is Google Wallet It
operates using NFC technology and allows you to pay in-store with your Android
phone and make online payments as well. The main problem with it is that in
order for you to be able to use it at a shop, the store has to have the proper
setup for it. Currently, there are only a limited number of retailers prepared
for users. In the time since it's become available, I have never seen anyone
new in iOS 6?
Lemon.com Wallet scans everything in your
wallet, including cards and receipts. It does not work with any NFC technology,
mainly because it isn't available on the iPhone yet, and is therefore not
available in third-party apps.
I actually tried this app the other night
and found it handy, but the NFC technology would definitely make it better. I
scanned in my credit cards, driver's license, ¡Tunes gift
card, and insurance cards. What it wasn't good for were the small loyalty cards
that fit on keychains. They wouldn't fit correctly within the borders of the
scanning area. Normally those are usually given out alongside full- size cards,
but I had alerady discarded them in preference for those smaller ones.
Not only did it keep digitized versions of
all my credit cards and IDs, it also keeps receipts. It allows you to scan them
in or put them in manually. Next, it takes all that data and analyzes your
spending habits as well. That might not be a good thing, depending on your
spending habits. Additionally, Lemon.com provides you with an email address to
give to merchants when you purchase something online.
Now, not only do your receipts all arrive
in one handy spot, but all that spam that arrives from having your email shared
arrives in this mailbox as well. Lemon is also promising a technology that will
allow the app to notify you when you are near a store that will accept a coupon
or offer that you have scanned into the app.
wasn't left out of the loop in this new digital payment technology. They have
created their own app, Paypal In-Store, to
allow PayPal users to buy things with their account in stores. However, like
Google Wallet, it requires connectivity with stores that have a special reader
to allow for its use. Unlike Google Wallet, it doesn't use NFC.
Wallet and the Paypal In-
Store apps are great, but it does seem strange that Apple hasn't dipped their
toe into the market until now. They will be releasing the new Passbook app
along with their iOS 6 revision. From what they
showed at the WWDC and from what developers have seen, there is no NFC
technology included in this app and it is mostly a digitized wallet... with a
few included extras.
Lemon.com, Passbook doesn't allow you to scan everything that's in your wallet.
It will be more like the native iOS app, Newsstand.
Instead of holding magazines, it instead houses apps produced by the companies
offering the magazines, like Tech Life News. Likewise, Passbook doesn't store
your cards, but apps by the companies that issued your cards. iPhone users won't know all the stores and organizations
whose apps have been included in Passbook until it's released. The only known
participants are those shown in the demo or in pictures - Target, Fandango, Amtrak,
Starbucks, MLB.com, W Hotel, United, and of course, the Apple Store.
it's on the iPhone, Passbook is full of interconnectivity. It doesn't just give
you the ticket info, it scans it in via QR code.
But it does
even more than that. The United Airlines app tells you if your gate changes and
gives you other necessary info. The Baseball ticket app will show you where
your seats are located.
Passbook Demo on iOS
6 Beta 2
will also, like Lemon.com Wallet, let you know when you pass a store or
organization that can use a coupon or card that you have stored. And because
it's Apple, it has great graphics. When you decide you no longer want a coupon,
pass, or card in your wallet, or when it has been used or has expired, you
delete it in the app, with a little shredding animation of that card.
But what I
like the most about the app is that it will also allow you to use the cards or
tickets you have as your lock screen. You no longer have to unlock your phone
and fumble through your apps to get to the right card to present at the
counter. You just have to turn it on. That’s it.
you can use the boarding pass and redeem the coupons and tickets, you cannot
"buy" things, per se, with Passbook— at least not to anyone outside of
Apple's knowledge. Two of the iPhone 5 prototype models, referred to as
iPhone 5.1 and iPhone 5.2, have NFC controllers built in. They might not have
it included in what will ultimately be the iPhone 5, but they were at least
considering it as an option.
iPhone 5 with iOS6-Passbook
As much as
the iPhone has become a necessity in our lives, imagine how much more of one it
could be with bulit-in capacity of the ability to
purchase items in-store. Not that I necessarily need to spend more money, but
it would just be easier. As it is, I keep my shopping lists in a variety of different
note-taking apps, whichever one suits my fancy on that given day. Bar code
readers can scan products and tell you what stores the product is available in.
Now you might be able to buy these things with that very same app as well.
But if the
NFC technology hasn't been added just yet to the iPhone 5, that's okay, as
you'll be able to buy a coffee on the way to the store and buy tickets on the
way to the movie theater. And when you're on the way to the airport, it will
remind you that you're passing a Starbucks, and you'll be able to use your
loyalty card to get a latte to drink before your flight.
not clear why Apple is behind the others with this technology, but what does
seem clear is that Apple is proceeding carefully with this release, just as
they have with all their other product releases. No other pass using the wallet
and NFC technology have been immediately successful, so Apple seems to be
playing it smart by taking their time to be sure they hit the market with a
successful product at just the right time.