What is the Passbook App used for?

There’s already a lot of people taking shots at the new Passbook App for iPhone (now available on the new iOS6 upgrade). Some say ‘it doesn’t do anything’. Others say it has potential but it still seems silly. Others have just given up hope altogether:

It may seem so at the moment, because it’s so new. But people say that about a lot of things when they first come out. If someone doesn’t understand something, it’s easy to rip on it. But I have faith. Call it way early to make this prediction, but I think Passbook will pave the way for a whole new way of purchasing products, redeeming and collecting points, and using tickets. It will be as dependable as the wallet you carry every day.

Apple just recently added a longer description on its product page to help people understand Passbook’s goal:

YWalgreens Balance Rewards Card on Passbookour boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more are now all in one place.  You can add passes to Passbook through apps, emails, and websites from participating airlines, theaters, stores, and more. Then you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon. Wake your iPhone or iPod touch, and passes appear on your Lock screen at the appropriate time and place — like when you reach the airport or walk into the store to redeem your gift card or coupon. And if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal.

Passbook Walgreens
Walgreens App connects with Passbook and allows you to check your app for points you accumulate, special offers and coupons and receipts – something I love!

I used it for the first time at Walgreen’s on my work break and was very happy with the experience. While browsing the aisles, I opened Passbook. Since it was  empty, I was directed to the App Store. There I found Walgreens’ App and downloaded it. Everywhere I turned in the store, Walgreens was promoting their reward program called Balance Rewards. I didn’t have an account so I was able to set one up on the app. Seamless. Quick.

Once that was done, it tied together with Passbook and I was good to go. Next time I opened the Passbook, my rewards code pulled up on screen and I was set. I grabbed my items and at checkout, I showed the clerk my phone.

She smirked and said something in Spanish. If I could understand it it would probably be, “Oh lookie you. So technologically advanced and savvy.”

Or it could have been: “Nice makeup, fella. You’re one strange-looking White boy.”

A quick scan and I was on my way. Not only do you accumulate points (for cash back later), the app keeps record of your purchase (every purchase) with date, price, etc. just like a receipt would.

We’ve entered the era when paper is no longer needed for basic things like receipts, bills and forms. Passbook could essentially replace your wallet if you come to think about it. For those of you who like tangible things – this may not be a good idea. But for those of you who are tech savvy and are looking to streamline your life, the marriage between all of your cards, paperwork and coupons and Passbook could be the light on the horizon you’ve been waiting for.

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Josh Benson

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Josh Benson


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