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Apple Wins NFC Based ‘iTravel’ Patent With Passbook-style Features

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a new patent today from the great minds in Cupertino. This interesting patent is like Passbook on steroids for traveling, using NFC-enabled transportation ticketing and airport check-in…

This new iTravel patent would come into play if an iPhone had NFC technology. There have been many rumors surrounding an NFC-enabled iPhone, but I still have my doubts.

PatentlyApple explains the new patent:

Apple’s iTravel check-in system will work with Macs, but more importantly, with iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Ticketing and identification information will be stored on the iOS device and transmitted, such as via near field communication, to another electronic device. The handheld device may be used to check into flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, trains, buses, and so forth.

Additionally, traveler identification information may be transmitted electronically to enable faster security verification during check-in. The traveler identification information may enable automatic lookup of the traveler in a security database, thereby reducing the inconveniences of incorrect identification. Travelers may also provide specialized identification, such as fingerprints or retinal scans, in order to provide heightened security on high-risk modes of transportation.

This would be quite an interesting application if the technology were readily available. I think Apple had higher hopes for NFC when they submitted the application back in September 2008. NFC has yet to take of in any realistic implementation.

Not to be a “Debbie Downer” here but Apple files hundreds of patent applications, many of which are approved, so there’s really no solid evidence this will ever become a reality. Though I can definitely see the up-side to an “iTravel” app.

What do you think?

Source: PatentlyApple

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