Apple iOS 6 developments will put travel companies on high alert

Three elements stand out for travel when it comes to Apple’s iOS 6 release which is likely to be the back end of this year.

In order of significance, the first is Passbook – a wallet type function which carries an electronic version of all your store cards, event tickets, memberships and airline boarding passes.

And, many are heralding this as the ‘first step towards an iTravel ecosystem‘ where iPhone devices carry almost everything a consumer needs to get around, shop, travel etc.

In addition, the digital cards can receive live updates, alert consumers to vital information such as flight delays and use geolocation to bring up the relevant information.

Apple has already paved the way for iTravel with applications for a series of patents including mock-ups and then adding further pre and post-trip functionality via additional patents just three months later.

But, this puts in place a final piece of the puzzle in terms of the transaction with Apple already having the widely accepted and familiar iTunes infrastructure in place.

The second development of note is that Apple has created its own mapping technology from scratch and included elements such as a 3D ‘Flyover’ view with many cities around the world already modeled, location-based information such as images, reviews and ratings via Yelp and spoken directions via Siri for every turn you make.

Of the mapping development Apple boss Tim Cook says:

“This is a worldwide effort. We’re covering the world.”

Just think what that could do for destination management companies, hotel concierges and just about everyone who has ever been lost in a foreign destination.

Here’s a clip:

And speaking of Siri, the technology will be further integrated into iOS 6 with new languages and more information and the ability to access movie reviews and make restaurant reservations.

For better or worse, iOS 6 should be making travel companies sit up and take notice – iTravel could soon be knocking on the door.

The developments were announced at Apple’s developer conference WWDC 2012 in San Francisco yesterday.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.



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  1. Apple Passbook and its potential impact on the travel industry | China Hotel E-Marketing Strategies

    […] week, Apple announced Passbook, a new default app coming to iOS 6 for iPhone later this year which stands to get a lot of […]

  2. RussellP

    This all sounds great, however, is the suggestion that you will be able to buy travel related products via iTunes or similar platform?

    If this is the case then Apple seriously need to rethink their commercial model for vendors – would they really expect an airline to part with 30% of the revenue (as with paid app providers) on the ticket in order to distribute via Apple and have the seamless integration to Passbook?

    Don’t get me wrong its a great idea but it needs to work for everyone in the supply chain, not just Apple.

  3. Brian Hayashi

    As Eric noted, I expect to see more coverage of the Passbook app. It combines an electronic wallet and real-world authentication, with an API that not only supports Starbucks cards and travel vouchers but also hotel room keys.

  4. Timothy O'Neil-Dunne

    There was also a subtlety in the announcements that many people might have missed. However to me there is an approach that Apple is taking that is (gasp) smart and right.

    The return of the OFF button. More control at the user level was a clear direction including the ability to remove some of the automatic always on features that are so annoying for the user experience.

    Watch this space. A more natural interaction is a path that Apple is pursuing and rightly so. Woe betide those who are being too controlling and heavy handed (Googleplex inhabitants for example).

    Standing at the high level and reflecting from the announcements there was a clear message. Apple’s enemy is Google. Its move to embrace Facebook would clearly seem to that focus.

    For travel – the more social side of travel – this means a gentler set of services. For travel providers, both direct and indirect, there is a new direction and we had all better pay attention. Just because the products such as the mythical iTravel was not a formal release doesn’t mean we can ignore Apple’s approach to the Travel category.

    And no I have not been drinking the CoolAid. I just am drawing inferences from the approach and direction. Yesterday was more of a blue print of the new Apple under Tim Cook. This is not Steve Jobs’ Apple any more.


  5. Joe Bühler

    What this new map solution and Siri integration also shows is that the so often (by the geekerati anyway) criticized Apple walled garden approach to software is not only necessary but results in an improved overall user experience. The further integration with their own hardware is what allows Apple to charge a premium for their products while still making them wildly popular.

  6. Dan G.

    “Just think what that could do for destination management companies, hotel concierges and just about everyone who has ever been lost in a foreign destination.”

    Anything more than Google Maps already does for them? This is more about cutting the reliance on the big G than adding functionality that the world doesn’t yet have.

    • Glenn Gruber

      @DanG, I think that the Siri integration with the maps probably was a big factor in the decision…as well as thumbing Google in the eye. Tie that into Passbook and alerts (e.g. “Siri: “Traffic is bad, you should leave to the airport 15 minutes earlier than planned”) and I think you can start to see some of the benefits of having their own mapping technology. It allows Siri to better fulfill the ‘personal assistant’ role that it was originally created to be.

    • Eric Hoffman

      Looks like they are dropping some other Google Maps functionality, such as the walking, transit, bike route options. Gives Apple a big shot to monetize elements off the map now and certainly tie-in Passbook (wish it had NFC) as well. I do wonder if they’ll be able to drive the adoption they have with iTunes, in particular with how fragmented travel distribution platforms currently, will consumers really feel the drive to just use Passbook? Guess we’ll wait and see once iOS 6 comes out this fall.

  7. Nemo

    Great wrap of of the tech. An additional feature coming to Siri though is “eyes free”. Apple is partnering with a lot of major auto makers to make this a reality. Feel free to check out that list and a few more detailshere.


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