iPhone 5’s Passbook

Digital wallets have emerged as an increasingly popular trend. Consumers can store their payment information on apps and connect with businesses in various ways, including accessing coupons and making purchases.

Apple has introduced Passbook on iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. Passbook stores passes and tickets for different types of businesses, so customers can easily access all of their information. The app holds digital tickets, coupons and rewards cards. Users don’t have to manually update the app if a participating company changes their policies regarding mobile content, as Passbook automatically adds new features.

Passbook features
Passbook functions as a digital wallet for companies that develop apps compatible with the program. Major businesses have begun adding their services to Apple’s platform to take advantage of the iPhone 5’s popularity.

Businesses across all sectors have become part of Passbook’s growing ecosystem. The entertainment industry is represented by Fandango and Live Nation with digital tickets for movies and concerts. Target and Walgreens were two of the first major retailers to offer coupons via Passbook. Even airlines, including Lufthansa and United Airlines, offer mobile boarding passes through the digital wallet.

Unlike similar apps, Passbook doesn’t use near field communication (NFC). Apple’s program relies on barcodes that businesses scan like any other product. Users simply open a business’ tab and present their phones to employees.

Consumers can also add new companies to their Passbooks through the App Store or emails. The apps are downloaded to the iPhone 5 and then added to the digital wallets upon activation.

Passbook’s future
Passbook is only a few months old and already has some impressive names on its roster of companies. As time wears on, more businesses are expected to develop their own Passbook-compatible apps. Digital Trends notes that in its current state, customers can’t use the digital wallet for mobile payments from credit and debit cards.

When a company creates a Passbook app, users have to sync their personal accounts to make purchases. For instance, Starbucks only completes transactions for its own digital rewards cards. This should make Passbook appealing for businesses – customers are almost locked into relationships by the apps.

Apple is using a similar strategy for Passbook’s growth that it used for the App Store. The tech giant is relying on other developers wanting to become a part of this trend, to reach out to the iPhone’s massive fan base.

There is some speculation that Passbook will become a full mobile wallet that can be used to complete every transaction. That may be some ways off, as not every company has integrated smartphone technology into daily operations.

If Passbook maintains high levels of popularity, more businesses are likely to develop apps for the marketplace. Larger corporations typically wait before investing their resources in new technology, because if a new innovation is a passing fad it won’t have a long-term impact. Once far-reaching chains, like Wal-Mart and Costco, see how successful Passbook can be, they may enter the mobile wallet fray, which would only increase the utility of Apple’s app.

Author Bio: Courtney Lee is a freelance writer, self-proclaimed tech-nerd, and avid Apple user– she enjoys reading mystery novels, traveling the world, and exploring the latest technological trends such as the new Ultrabook series, iPhone 5 accessories, and the Window 8 release.