Broken livestream be damned, Apple barreled bravely forward with their highly anticipated press conference today in California. One of the biggest announcements to come out of it was the reveal of the new Apple Pay virtual wallet service.
Relying on an NFC chip mounted inside the top edge of both the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay will allow consumers to do away with all of the fumbling around with silly, outdated ideas like cards, IDs, and security codes. Working in combination with the Touch ID sensor located in the Home button, Apple Pay will theoretically make the payment methods stored in your stolen phone useless to thieves – unless they get the bright idea to begin lopping off fingers, I suppose. But even if that should be the case, there’s no need to cancel your cards on your way to the hospital as payments from the device can be shut off via Find My iPhone. Pretty nice to not have to deal with that whole hassle, I would say.
Apple Pay integrates with Passbook and can import the credit card that users already have on file with iTunes. Using the iPhone’s camera, they can also snap pictures of their other cards to add them to the options on file as well, but apparently the credit card number itself is stored on neither the device, nor Apple’s servers. Instead, each transaction will be authorized by a one-time use unique transaction number and a dynamic, shifting security code. Let’s hope this calms fears of trusting cash to the cloud in the wake of last week’s leaked celebrity selfie disaster.
Starting off, Apple Pay will work with all three of the major credit card providers (Visa, MasterCard, and Discover), as well as pretty much all of the major U.S. banks, totaling 83% of the consumer purchase volume. There are also deals in place for a growing number of retailers, restaurants, and other folks who want your money to use Apple Pay as it launches. McDonalds, Panera, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Staples, and more are already involved, with Disney, Chipotle, Sephora, Nordstrom, and others due by the end of the year.
Apple Pay is only available with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and is due to roll out in the U.S. this October, with the rest of the world still to be announced. Provided they can actually suss out the security issues, I have to admit this does sound like a pretty neat idea. A growing number of retailers have NFC readers at their point-of-sale and it certainly beats having to fumble with your ID when that one store decides to ask for it when a dozen others never bother.
What do you think? Are you ready to abandon your actual wallets just yet and trust that your iPhone’s battery won’t die during a particularly long day out? Let us know how you feel below.
Passbook is cool, right? Only thing that stinks is that not everything is using Passbook. Our wallets must suffer under the tyranny of membership and loyalty cards evermore.
Now, here’s the thing about Passbook: it’s really not that special. See, all it does is load in specially-formatted files that are then displayed in the Passbook app. Now, apps have the ability to add in Passbook cards from the app, but cards can also be installed through Mail and Safari. This means that where gaps in Passbook support exist, they can be filled through third-party methods. Plus, there’s other cool tweaks to play with. It’s time to take advantage of Passbook for fun and profit.
Ticketfly is at least one ticket service that supports Passbook through manual file installation of .pkpass files. If an event you wish to attend is selling through Ticketfly, you can get your ticket added to Passbook. If you request mobile tickets at checkout, then their email will include an attachment at the bottom to install the ticket to Passbook. When you arrive at the venue at the time of the event, just open up Passbook or the ticket from your lock screen. If you open from the lock screen, open it up right before it is scanned, because unlocking the device directly will not go back to the ticket. Don’t hold up the line like I did!
Now, this is a very important thing: if you’re installing a Passbook card via email, it has to be done in the stock Mail app, and the card file has to be an attachment, not a link, in order to work.
If you want to integrate other rewards cards in to Passbook, such as a Best Buy Reward Zone card, go to PassSource. This website offers step by step instructions to import your data into customized Passbook cards. Because Passbook offers limited barcode support, some cards won’t have barcodes because the stores are known to be incompatible with two-dimensional barcodes that Passbook supports. Still, it’s a quick way to integrate in those other cards that are cluttering up your wallet. As well, store owners that want to use Passbook for themselves can use PassSource to help set up a system like this.
Now, the most useful Passbook hack may just be the ability to hide built-in apps, at least on a temporary basis. Visit PassHack on your iOS device and install the Passbook card. On the card’s (i) page, links to hide built-in apps will appear. This works by trying to install apps with the same app identifier as the built-in apps, which will fail to install. When you delete the icon, the app is hidden. Nothing is actually done to your device besides hiding the icon, which reappears on a restart. However, for those that want Stocks to go away for a while, this is the secret.
Have you used these tweaks to make Passbook more useful for you? Have you found any more clever tweaks for Passbook? Let us know in the comments!
One of iOS 6’s big new features is Passbook: a one-stop shop for accessing cards and tickets that is not only available from a single app, but is also location and time-aware to make coupons and loyalty cards appear near certain locations and tickets at the time of the event. Now, it doesn’t work with just anything, unfortunately. There’s a limited selection of apps that are available at the moment with support for Passbook. There’s been some confusion on how to activate it with apps, and this guide is here to help.
First, find an app that is compatible with Passbook. Launching Passbook for the first time will come up with a short description of what Passbook can do and launches an App Store section with apps to check out. Tap that, and a variety of Apple-curated apps with Passbook support are listed. Even for apps like the Starbucks app that have a card functionality already, the card needs to be added to Passbook through the app. To show how this Passbook functionality works, let’s download the Walgreens app and add the Balance Rewards card to Passbook.
Create an account with Walgreens and sign up for their rewards card, or log in to the account if you have one already. If you signed up in-store, you can add it to a new account. Now, go to the Rewards section of the app, and the card will appear. Below, there is an Add to Passbook button. Tap this, and it will prompt to tie it to a specific store location, which will make an alert pop up when near that location. Then, a final prompt to add it to Passbook with the location information attached will pop up. Tap Add, and boom, the card is now in Passbook.
Launch the Passbook app, and all added cards and tickets will appear, including the one we just added. Tap the (i) icon to modify the individual card’s settings. This automatic card recall works on the iPod touch as well, though location detection may be spottier due to only being able to detect location by nearby wifi hotspots. Once added, cards in Passbook are accessible offline.
While Passbook is still somewhat limited as developers continue to integrate into their apps, and apps that already had user cards need to be updated to support Passbook, this is still handy, especially with its handy awareness features. Know of any useful apps using Passbook that Apple didn’t feature? Let us know in the comments.