What is Passbook?
|A full Passbook|
While many mobile hardware vendors have embedded NFC chips into their mobile devices, Apple's Passbook solution avoids that route.
Instead of adding NFC chips and waiting for retailers to build out the changes to Point-of-Sale infrastructure needed to support it, Apple argues the better approach is to use the lowly, yet ubiquitous hand scanner.
The Passbook solution then is implemented through software alone.
So, again, what is Passbook?
Passbook is an application bundled into iOS 6. It serves as a container for "passes", in the same way that their Newsstand app is a container for magazines and periodicals.
In Apple's parlance, a pass is a digital representation of the many pieces of paper and plastic we carry in our wallets today. Boarding passes, store and membership cards, as well as coupons and event tickets can all be created as digital passes and stored in Passbook.
In addition to having all your passes collected in one place, Passbook offers a few interesting tricks, like Relevance. By taking advantage of the iPhone being a time and location-aware device, passes can be set to present themselves at the time and place of the vendor’s choosing.
For example, if you have a concert ticket in your Passbook, a scannable ticket can be set to pop itself onto your home screen when you are near to the concert hall aroound the start time for the show.
Customer Sally signs up for free coupons from a local retailer, Cool Stuff Co. She is sent an email containing a Coupon pass. After opening the email on her iPhone, Sally installs the pass into Passbook with a single click.
The retailer has encoded the pass with the address of their shops closest to Sally's home. Whenever Sally nears one of the shops, a reminder pops onto the Lock Screen of her iPhone, informing her that "Cool Stuff Co. is nearby".
When time comes for the next Big Sale, Sally is shown a reminder to shop at Cool Stuff Co.
Any organization can create and distribute passes simply by signing up to the $99 USD per year Apple Developer Program.