We constantly hear about patent disputes between major technological firms (Samsung vs. Apple ring a bell?) and we’ve realized that protecting ones ideas is of utmost importance. On July 24, 2012, Apple was granted an iTravel patent which handles e-ticketing with NFC enabled devices. This is great, considering Passbook will be released this fall, and with the patent in place it looks as if future iPhone devices will be equipped with NFC.
With iTravel, consumers can make travel bookings through the app itself, and the device would store all relevant travel information. Essentially, it’s an app that handles all a person’s traveling needs: making reservations, checking in, managing checked in luggage. iTravel could even lead to allowing passengers to book not only flights, but reserve hotel rooms, rent cars, and hire a bus.
For those who don’t book through iTravel itself, the data can also be accessed through a website, confirmation number, e-mail, or other NFC device which users can then open and store in iTravel.
This system is also powerful in a sense that it could recognize a user based on the scan of a government issued ID tag, like a passport for example. Manually entering a person’s ID number is also a feature and iTravel will automatically download the relevant identification data from the issuing authority.
For now, there’s still speculation as to the possibilities of iTravel and its main features. Apple hasn’t released it and has not commented on its full functions. We do know that this iTravel application could work dynamically with Passbook, and if Apple adopts NFC in its later devices, the iPhone could someday become not only an e-wallet (Passbook function) but also an e-ticketing platform (iTravel).