updated 01:05 pm EDT, Fri April 16, 2010
Proposed system would allow e-tickets for iPhones
Apple has been exploring the concept of an iPhone- and iTunes-based system for event tickets, a patent application reveals. People would be able to buy a ticket in one of several ways, such as through a manned or unmanned kiosk, or else on a computer, or directly through their phone. Kiosk tickets could be transferred through near-field communication, or special paper passes, which could copy data to an iPhone via an RFID tag. Alternately, a camera might be used to scan a barcode or matrix.
After a person actually arrives at an event, an iPhone could be used to check in at a turnstile, find seating and buy merchandise such as food or t-shirts, potentially with electronic coupons to get discounts. The technology would have a close association with iTunes; users would first of all need a special iPhone app, in the patent dubbed "Concert Ticket +." The iTunes Store could also be used for authentication, and (in the case of concerts) selling or giving away extra audio content such as live recordings, interviews and studio albums.
Apple's concept is described as applying beyond just concerts, however, to include things like plays, museums, amusement parks or even weddings. Of special note is a reference to WWDC 2010, where guests could conceivably access schedules, and/or use their e-tickets to pay for lunches and dinners. The use of a particular Apple-branded event in the patent could suggest that Apple wants to trial the technology there, but the filing was originally submitted in late 2008.