Limited countries only, redeemed through Passbook
Apple Store application users in the United States have had the ability to purchase virtual gift cards through the application for just over a year, but on Tuesday Apple expanded the program to a limited number of international countries through an Apple Store app update. The virtual gift cards, which can be shared to others for use in either the retail or online Apple Store, are redeemed through the Passbook application and now available in four other countries.
May also liaison with MLB for Passbook, app integration
The assistant general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays is leaving the organization to join Apple as an executive with responsibility for managing the Sports and Entertainment sections of the App Store, according to reports. Jay Sartori has been with the team since 2010 and will be leaving next month for the new job. His exact duties at Apple haven't been revealed, but the company has been working closely with Major League Baseball to enhance its apps' integration with other Apple technologies.
British Airways boarding passes now sent to Passbook
British Airways has launched an updated version of its iOS app that features new Passbook integration. With the latest release all boarding passes will now be sent directly to Passbook, however, support for downloading them within the app will also remain available. The company has also announced that by mid June the Passbook integration will be enhanced through the addition of direct links to boarding passes from the lock screen. Along with these changes the update also resolves a number of bugs and improves overall stability.
Offers new way to use Apple app to promote other services, apps
Developer Second Gear has worked out a clever way to use Apple's Passbook technology for promotion of the company's own forthcoming app. Users who sign up for further information on the unnamed new app will receive a card compatible with Passbook, Apple's iOS-based virtual wallet/ticket/pass manager. The card will use Passbook's technology to alert cardholders when an announcement is made -- allegedly ahead of the public announcement. The service that makes the card possible, dubbed Pit Pass, will be made available to other developers.
Service allows for rapid, secure delivery of ticket and pass information
Mobile ad vendor and service provider Skycore has launched the ability for users to receive Passbook data through MMS. Providers of Passbook data can connect to Skycore's SaaS servers to provide secure delivery of passes to a user's phone. The passes then are opened, and stored in the user's Passbook app. Providers can monitor MMS delivery receipts, and verify installations of the provided data.
Harvester restaurant creates special offer for iPhone users only
A UK restaurant chain is experimenting with an iPhone-only coupon, usable through Apple's Passbook app, in an effort to attract new customers. The Harvester coupon, which offers £5 ($7.60) off any bill of £30 ($45.70) or more, "exceeded our expectations," according to the chain, with a nearly five percent redemption rate (similar ads generally see only a 1-2 percent redemption rate in most industries). The promotion was limited only to iPhone users who had Passbook, a feature of iOS 6 -- but the app is catching on with other businesses.
At Bat gets universal access features
Major League Baseball has updated two core iOS apps, At Bat and At the Ballpark. The former has gained universal support for At Bat 13 subscribers, making the service accessible not only on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but a variety of other supported phones and tablets. Similarly, live audio access is now multi-platform, portable to Mac or Windows as long as a person has an MLB.com account.
Tickets via iPhone soon to be accepted at half of all stadiums
The entity controlling the sport of baseball is making some major league moves in courting iOS owners, particularly those using Apple's "virtual wallet" Passbook app. Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that it will expand the number of stadiums accepting Passbook electronic tickets to nearly half of all MLB venues over the course of 2013, for a total of 13 stadiums. Last week, the league updated its At Bat 13 app for Spring Training, now including multi-platform live audio and a classic game video archive among many other new features.
Currently in preview form for developers
Samsung today revealed a new mobile app, Wallet, at the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The app is similar in concept to Apple's Passbook app for the iPhone, in that it saves items like tickets, boarding passes, coupons, and membership cards in a central place. Each item can be tied to time- or location-based push notifications, and/or updated in real-time if details change.
American Airlines claims 1.5 million active users
Some of the early adopters of Apple's Passbook app are pleased with the response so far, a Wired report suggests. American Airlines, for instance, says it has witnessed a "high uptake" of people managing boarding passes through the app. The airline says it has about 1.5 million active Passbook users, and that 20,000 passes reach iPhone users daily.
Passbook filing leaves room for NFC support
Apple has filed for two new, potentially significant patents. One of these covers an "integrated coupon storage, discovery, and redemption system" similar to Passbook, an app built into the iPhone version of iOS 6. The filing describes a "coupon wallet" which can accept input from several sources, such as scanning, email, touchscreen entry, or delivery via server. Coupons can be stored on-device or on a server, and the proposed app could also notify people about expiration dates, or when a person is in proximity to a place where a coupon can be used. Geofencing is already a feature of Passbook, and content is synced across devices via iCloud.
Lets users store, redeem CashBack Bonus rewards
Apple has added more vendors to its Passbook digital certificate program, including the first credit-card reward redemption option. While American Express lets users check their balance and transaction notifications, Discover has updated its iPhone app to convert CashBack Bonus rewards into digital certificates that Passbook can store and redeem at various merchants. In addition, version 4.10 of the app now lets users make payments, send money using PayPal Messenger, search transactions and refer friends to Discover, which earns extra points.
Messenger app drops account requirement
Facebook announced today that it had altered its Facebook Messenger app to allow users to create Messenger accounts with only a name and a phone number. The alteration brings Facebook Messenger into the company of other SMS-replacement apps such as WhatsApp and Handcent, as users can now message contacts with just a phone number, as well as share photos with them. The social network rolled out the update to its Messenger app for Android today, and will be rolling out Messenger accounts over the next few weeks.
Gift cards to be compatible with Passbook, site now live
Apple has updated its Apple Store iOS app to add compatibility with Siri, and a new online portal for buying gift cards delivered by email and now Passbook compatible. In addition, the app now supports Apple's EasyPay system in Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. The changes, implemented to make shopping easier in crowded Apple Stores during the holiday season, allow uses to buy and send Apple Store gift cards (which are distinct and not compatible with iTunes gift cards) to themselves or others.
UTexas, Perdue, UTennessee, UNC on board for e-tickets
Online event ticketing service StubHub, which recently announced support for iOS 6's Passbook feature for iPhones, is expanding its offerings into e-tickets for college football games hosted at four US colleges, the first batch of what the company says will be more than 60 partner teams in the near future, including professional sports teams. The integration lets fans add e-tickets purchased through the StubHub Tickets app to Passbook for automatic display when they arrive at the venue. The e-tickets will be available for the next home games for each school.
Passbook version has iPhone 5 4-inch Retina support
After been seen demonstrated by Apple as an example of how Passbook works back in June, Starbucks updated its iOS app for iOS 6 support and the ability to store and use a Starbucks loyalty card on Passbook, Apple's "virtual wallet" application that is built into iOS 6. The update allows users to store their virtual card information in both the app itself and Passbook, the latter of which can prove more convenient for presentation as it can be accessed automatically as the user enters the venue, even over the lock screen.
App tracks balance, transaction history, spending history
As expected, American Express has launched its Pass service for the Apple iOS 6 Passbook application. The Pass allows card members to get access to the running balance, display recent activity, show spending updates, and contact customer service directly from the application.
Wi-Fi issue already solved on Apple's end
Early users of iOS 6 have been encountering significant bugs, reports say. Initially, for instance, people complained that they were having Wi-Fi connectivity issues, triggering "page not found" errors in Safari and elsewhere. The glitch appears to have been linked to iOS 6's network verification technique, involving a webpage hosted by Apple, used to test Wi-Fi connectivity. The page appears to have gone down yesterday, but is now back up and working.
Could tie into rumored NFC iPhone plans
Apple has won the rights to a US patent on its "iTravel" concept, notes AppleInsider. Technically listed as System and Method for Transportation Check-In, the patent nevertheless revolves around an app which lets people handle ticketing and ID tasks on an iPhone. "The handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application," Apple writes.