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Passbook Success

So, one of the shiny new gizmos in iOS6 is something called Passbook. It’s kind of hard to know how good this thing will be in the long run, but it got off to a rocky start. One oddity is that Apple’s site plugs specific vendors, including Starbucks, but when iOS6 first shipped, the Starbucks app didn’t actually support it. Go figure. (Side note: Starbucks does now support Passbook—just a little late to the game, that’s all.)

However, there have been some recent success stories, such as Major League Baseball. I wanted to put my experience out there as well.

Back in April, the band Garbage was scheduled to play in my town. One of the band members had a death in the family and they had to reschedule the show. I had purchased tickets through Ticketmaster. I know, I know, mark of the devil, king of jacked-up fees, etc. I wanted to see the show, so there it was. Anyway, the show was eventually re-scheduled for October 9th. In the intervening time, iOS6 came out, meaning Passbook was available, and I decided to give it a try. I downloaded the Ticketmaster app, and logged in to my account. It did indeed know about my tickets to the show, and was seamlessly Passbook-aware. I sent my tickets to Passbook with a tap.

On the day of the show, I printed out paper tickets just in case. It turned out to be totally unnecessary. Sometime early in the day—I think around lunchtime but it might have been earlier, Passbook asked for authorization to use location services, which I gave. That night, when we arrived at the venue, sure enough Passbook knew I was there and a banner appeared on my lock screen. When we got to the doors, I swiped it and it brought up my tickets which were scanned by the person at the door, and in we went. No fuss, no muss, no finding the app and searching for the right tickets—exactly as advertised. I could get used to this! It’s not like bringing tickets along is a terrible inconvenience or anything, but this definitely has that “living in the future” feel to it.

If it always works this well, Passbook is going to be a hit. One time isn’t really enough to be sure, of course, so I’ll be giving it a little more work in the coming months with another concert (Shpongle) and some air travel on United, which also claims to support Passbook. Hopefully it will all go as well as this did. The upcoming Shpongle show will be particularly interesting, because I bought my ticket for that show directly in the Ticketmaster app itself, something I’d never done before.

Postscript
By the way, the Garbage show was terrific. I’d seen them before—10 years ago—and despite being a decade longer in the tooth, they were even better this time around. Very fun!

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