When iOS6 was released my news feed became a flood of information about "updates" and "features", but none seemed very exciting to me. After doing a little research on my own I read about something called Passbook, and then wondered why more websites weren't spotlighting it.
Passbook is trying to be a digital wallet for your iPhone, and I think that's pretty cool. An article at Unwired View approaches from a logical point of view: nearly every shopping establishment has some sort of credit card, reward card, or club card and it's a real pain to carry them all around. Wallets explode, cards get stuck together, magnetic strips de-magnetize, and lines of people grow while individuals hunt pointlessly through bags. Phone number look-up systems solve the search problem but, as author Parth Dhebar smartly brings up, this doesn't fix the issue of paper rewards mailed to the home. How many of you have arrived at a store or restaurant, only to remember that you have a gift card or coupon on the kitchen table?
As a matter of keeping with the times, the rewards should be digital. Society is in a place where those who own smart phones are never without their smart phones. I know I depend on mine for an increasingly wide variety of purposes. Why not for reward cards, too?
But that's not where Passbook stops. It hopes to replace conventionally printed items such as hotel reservations and airplane tickets. It's at this point that I begin to feel wary of this new technology, and I spot a whole slew of problems: depleted phone battery, stolen phone, dead zones, counterfeit websites, and more problems that I'm probably unaware of. Does Passbook have a fail safe? Does the application caution users on backup protocols?
My research hasn't yielded an answer either way. My phone can be temperamental, so sometimes its battery drains far faster than anticipated. When I travel I keep my charger accessible, but it still seems like a stressful scenario to try to pull up my boarding pass during a bout of low battery. The eco-conscious person in me wants to embrace this 100%, but it's difficult not to be reserved. Perhaps if this is adopted by all airlines they'll add a boarding pass print kiosk at the gate for instances of technological failure. Airports are already overflowing with paid charge stations and power outlets between every chair, so it's not as if they're opposed to accommodation.
On a much smaller scale I can be excited and supportive of Passbook. I prefer it over the NFC approach from Google Wallet. And while Passbook has found greater success right out of the gate, only adoption by companies will determine its success. NBC News has a decent rundown of how to setup Passbook and some of its features if you're looking for some more hands on information. I'd love to provide that on my own, but that's tough to do without an iPhone.
Any iOS6 users out there have any experience with Passbook? Would you trust your phone to store such important information?