Apple has been chasing NFC patents for years, but it’s just now been granted a US patent for its own approach to a transportation check-in — one of the most common uses of the technology in the real world. The filing describes a theoretical iTravel app that would store reservation and ticket information for just about any vehicle and stop along the way: planes, trains and (rented) automobiles would just have the traveler tap an NFC-equipped device to hop onboard, and the hotel at the end of the line would also take credentials through a gentle bump. Besides the obvious paper-saving measures, iTravel could help skip key parts of the airport security line by providing passport information, a fingerprint or anything else screeners might want to see while we’d otherwise be juggling our suitcases.
It all sounds ideal, but before you start booking that trip to the South Pacific with ambitions of testing an NFC-equipped 2012 iPhone, remember this: the patent was originally filed in 2008. We clearly haven’t seen iTravel manifest itself as-is, and recent murmurs from the Wall Street Journal have suggested that Apple isn’t enthusiastic about the whole NFC-in-commerce idea even today. Still, with Passbook waiting in the wings, the patent can’t help but fuel speculation that Apple is getting more serious about an iPhone with near-field wireless in the future.
As you may be aware, Amazon does actually already make it easier for you to shop at places other than Amazon.com with its Amazon Payments service, and it now looks like it might even be thinking about expanding things to brick and mortar stores as well. More specifically, Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon is exploring a mobile payment service based on NFC technology, which would let you pay for items and receive things like loyalty points using nothing other than an NFC-equipped cellphone. Not surprisingly, Amazon is also said to be considering some other features that would send folks back to Amazon.com — Bloomberg gives the example of someone shopping for jeans in a retail store who can’t find the right size, and says that they could simply scan the jean’s tag to order a pair online. Details are otherwise a bit light, and the service is apparently still not quite a sure thing, although a person familiar with the matter says Amazon will decide whether to go forward with it or not “in the next three to five months.”
Permalink |Related Posts: | Email this | Comments
There’s not exactly a lot of details on this one, but Business Insider discovered something of a surprise while touring Foursquare’s New York headquarters for launch of Foursquare 3.0. It turns out that the company is already testing out an NFC-based check-in system at its HQ, which lets those with a suitable phone (such as a Nexus S) share their location simply by tapping it against a blue dot on the wall. Unfortunately, there’s no indications on any plans to actually expand it beyond its own HQ, although you can bet that it’s pretty high up on the list of inevitable things or the company.
PermalinkRelated Posts: | | Email this | Comments