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Apple's Passbook: What's the Deal?
By: Greg Dorn
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Don’t call it a comeback, it’s been here for…months; at least in some fashion. Besides the highly criticized maps app and the disappearance of Google’s pre-installed YouTube app, Passbook has been the darling application of the newly introduced iOS 6. It’s been well over a month since the new iOS has been in the hands of the public, and both consumers and developers alike continue to ask, what exactly is Passbook?
When we first saw it in action on stage at the WWDC, it seemed like Apple had something great on their hands. The demonstration showed a one-stop shop to store all of your coupons, tickets, passes, and reward cards in one convenient place. It looked pretty awesome, and definitely a glimpse of things to come with NFC. However, for the developers who were able to get their hands on the early beta versions of the new OS, Passbook had a slow, gradual evolution.
Shortly after the always anticipated WWDC, the introduction of iOS 6 left everyone foaming at the mouth. Surely that "new phone" that was supposedly coming out in the fall would take full advantage of all the dazzling new ammetities. Immediately following the conference, anyone with an Apple devlopers account (including myself) was graced with iOS 6 beta 1. We all eagerly began to explore.
Then we got to the pre-installed Passbook app, and it looked nothing like it did on stage. In fact, there wasn't really anything at all. We saw one screen, a little snippet of what the app "could" do, and four icons to show tickets, coupons, passes, etc. Sure this was only a beta version, but those usually serve the purpose of allowing developers to tinker and investigate in order to prepare their applications for the new OS.
Beta 2 didn't give us much more information. We still had one screen with no links. It wasn't until beta 3 or 4 that we finally got a link that took us to the App Store. Although it gave us a pop-up notification that led nowhere, it was finally obvious that Apple would have a designated area to download Passbook compatible apps.
As iOS 6 finally made its debute on September 19th, most were still scratching their heads. There was maybe one app that linked from Passbook, yet no explanation of how to actually get a card or a pass onto the Passbook app. This was a far cry from when Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall seamlessly scrolled through countless movie tickets and baseball passes from the WWDC stage. It looked like the virtual wallet we all were waiting for. But once we had it, we had no idea how to use it.
As the weeks have gone by, more and more apps are popping up in Apple's Passbook destination in the App Store. However, we are still left with little information of how to fully take advantage of this potentially amazing tool. There is little information of how to actually get your coupons or tickets on to Passbook.
From what we saw on stage this past Summer, Apple has a bright future in the world of the digital wallet. I just wish they showed people how to use it.
How have your experiences been with Passbook? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author
Greg Dorn is a blogger, writer, and obsessed with everything technology and social media. Greg is absolutely captivated with the recent advancements in mobile gadgets, making our world more seamlessly connected. You can learn more about him on his own blog here
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