Slow Start For Passbook

Like many others, I pre-ordered my iPhone 5 then downloaded iOS 6 to my antiquated iPhone 4.  I decided the downgrade in mapping capabilities was worth access to Passbook, Apple's wallet of sorts that holds loyalty cards, tickets, and coupons.  To my disappointment, Passbook didn't work.  When it goes to the iTunes Store, it can't connect.  After a little research, I read that you can change the date on the iPhone to the future (I did March 2013), and then it will connect.  A list of apps that support Passbook are shown, some of which were already on my iPhone and others that required downloading.  Even when I put the date back on "automatic," things continued to work.  Not sure why.

Anyway, even once I got into iTunes and made sure I had some of the apps downloaded, it wasn't clear what the next step was (gimme a break, its Friday afternoon).  Every time I opened Passbook, it sent me to the "Apps for Passbook" page on iTunes.  I tried downloading one of the suggested apps that I didn't already have (Walgreens).  The app's icon has a "new" stripe across the icon.  I launched it and it said it had Passbook integration.

So I needed to login or signup with the loyalty program.  After figuring out what my username and password already was, it then offered to add the loyalty card to Passbook, which I accepted.  Now when I flip over to Passbook, I can see the loyalty card there.  I guess I need to go into each app to "push" cards into Passbook.

People seem to be using it.  Twenty-four hours after iOS 6 was released, Sephora had 20,000 users of Passbook. Starbucks says they'll be integrated to Passbook by the end of the month, and Target is already offering coupons via Passbook.  After a few more retailers get on board, Apple may not need to consider NFC.

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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