What is Passbook?

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Passbook is a new application in iOS6. It’s a native application and available on the iPhone and iPod Touch when iOS6 is installed; so that means that it’s a standard application for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and now the iPhone 5. It is not available on iPad or iPad mini.

Simply put, the application is a digital wallet for the stuff you normally have in your pocket or (traditional) wallet — things like coupons, loyalty cards or travel tickets. But instead of it being paper or plastic, it’s a digital Pass that simply displays in Passbook. Unlike your wallet, your phone doesn’t get any thicker when you carry around more Passes. This is very convenient and means you can carry around a whole lot more than the limit you used to have in your wallet or handbag.

Over the last few years, a number of companies started to produce tickets or coupons for the smartphone and many third party applications have taken advantage of barcodes. These barcodes on the smartphone screen allow a user to take a real world action. For example:

  • Checking in for your flight
  • Buying coffee
  • Checking in for movie at movie theatre

These are all very novel ways of making things more convenient for the user and save significant space in your wallet.  But until Apple released iOS6 it’s not been well supported by the phone.  Until Passbook, you had to fumble around and find the email, or go to another app or maybe even a browser screen.  All that changed with iOS6 and introduction of Passbook.

Passbook Features

Passbook is a single place on your iOS6 device where passes are stored and accessed in an easy, fun and useful way by the user. As you’d expect from Apple, it has a nice, clean, simple user Interface that allow for easy browsing for your tickets, coupons, and passes that much easier.

Apple has tried to remove some of the potential problems that could occur when using your iPhone as a wallet. For example, if you use a bar code in a safari web page, the screen may rotate or the back light turns off just as you are about to scan.  With a Passbook Pass on your screen, the auto-rotation is turned off and the brightness is jacked up and won’t suddenly turn off, until you exit from the Pass view.

In addition to the convenience of storing your passes, the Passbook app provides some other features that are another reason to move the paper and plastic into the smartphone.  Because the app is developed by Apple, unlike third party wallet applications, they have integrated it deeply into the Operating system.

Passes are accessible from the lock screen window. So when you walk close to a certain location or on a relevant date a message appears on the lock screen.  One swipe and you can access the appropriate Pass. To illustrate, as you walk close to your favourite coffee shop, your stored value Pass automatically appears on your lock screen, and with the swipe of a finger, the pass is opened and ready for use.

Passbook Push Notifcations

In addition to the geolocation and date notification, using PassKit allows you to push Passbook Pass updates to any, or all, Passes at any time. Carrying on the example above, let’s say you go into the coffee shop to buy your favourite skimmed milk double shot extra hot latte. Your stored value card is already on your screen, a quick barcode scan, and then your Pass is automatically updated with your new balance, and some additional loyalty points.  Next time you’ll get your coffee for free.

Of course Passbook designs and the subsequent updating are not just limited to stored balanced.  As a Passbook Pass issuer you can use the Pass Designer to be as creative as you want.  So if your are a marketer, or business owner, there is huge potential to connect and engage with your customers irrespective of the industry.

Let’s say that your customers have a loyalty card, or maybe a straight forward coupon/offer in Passbook.  Every time you have a new offer you can quickly and easily send this offer to your these Pass holders and entice them back into your shop. You can even send different offers to different people. This takes mobile marketing to an entirely different level without the need of an app or mobile website.  What’s more is that passes can be updated in real time. For example, if your flight is delayed, you’ll be notified of the change and your travel ticket, in Passbook, will be updated to reflect the new flight time.

Forget bulky wallets and fumbling around for the right pass.  The time for digitalized passes, tickets, coupons, and cards is now, and Passbook is just that application for enhancing and simplifying the lives of consumers and businesses.

If you just want to grab some sample Passbook passes, you can quickly grab them from our home page.

If you want to create your own Passbook Passes today go to http://create.passkit.com

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