US Patent Office Publishes Apple iTravel Patent with Passbook Info

Today the United States Patent and Trademark Office published 23 patents that were recently granted to Apple. Among those was a patent for Apple’s iTravel system, which reveals new details on Apple’s upcoming Passbook service that will be released with iOS 6.

Passbook was first announced during Apple’s keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference, and it promises to simplify ticket-based exchanges used when boarding planes, going to the movies, using coupon codes, and more.

The iTravel patent covers important Passbook features, including the app’s ability to act as a boarding pass and as an express check-in pass, and it also covers future near field communication (NFC) capabilities.

Apple’s described iTravel check-in system will work with both Macs and iOS devices. Ticketing and identification information are able to be stored right on the phone or tablet, and transmitted to other electronic devices for check-in on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, trains, and buses.

The patent also details the quick transfer of traveler identification information, speeding up security verification upon check-in. With the identification info, workers may be able to automatically view travelers in a security database, reducing the possibility of incorrect identification.

I.D.s, like a passport or a driver’s license, can be loaded onto an iDevice by scanning an RFID tag, or entering an I.D. number.

Travel information is also able to be managed on the iPad or the iPhone using a travel management application. Ticketing and reservation information could potentially be entered into the app through email, a website, other devices, or through a confirmation number.

While Apple is making inroads towards faster, more convenient ticketing and check-in processes, it remains to be seen whether third party companies will adopt Apple’s security and ticketing measures.

For now, we’ll get our first taste of Apple’s iTravel system with the release of Passbook, which will be included with iOS 6. While iOS 6 is currently available for developers, it is expected to be released to the general public this fall.

[Via Patently Apple]

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