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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    csal80's Avatar
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    I used passbook this week for the first time through the Starbucks App to see what all the hype (or lack thereof) is about. My first impressions is this is not nearly as convenient, at least for me, as compared to NFC mobile payments, and I really think Apple missed the boat by seemingly choosing this option instead. This is based on a few key observations, some of which Renee noted in his article about Passbook being this year's Newstand. I will list as follows:

    - one of my biggest criticisms is the user experience is very cumbersome. You have to download an app, navigate within the app, sign up if you are not a member, link up your account, add funding (in most cases). Then the balance has to sync over to the passbook card. Seemed like I had to manually sync to get my balance over. This is all way too much work as compared to simply pulling out my phone and holding it next to something to pay. When it comes to mobile payments, people at the end of the day are searching for convenience, not a pretty app.

    - next, I tried to use the option to have passbook recognize when I am in a Starbucks and pop up automatically. Problem with that is I work a block away from Starbucks so it kept popping up in my lockscreen (annoying!). Appears that the GPS is not precise enough, which may not necessarily be an inherent problem with passbook. I could see in the future if passbook got so popular that everyone used it, just walking down a street passing by a handful of stores would cause mutiple pop ups to appear in the lockscreen without you neccesarily going into stores.

    - one of the biggest problems for me, which I realize might not be a problem for most, is how this app draws funds. In most cases, you will probably have to link a CC to the app, where it will draw funds manually, or automatically when your balance gets low enough. The reason that creates a problem for me is because I am extremely anal with my budgeting. I purchase everything on my debit card in order to code the purchase to a particular category and manage my monthly budget. If I am, let's say, using Passbook to buy something at Target, it is just going to pull from the funded balance, and I will have no control over categorizing the expense and monitoring my budget. When I funded the intial chunk of money into the card, I would have had no idea how to categorize the debit to my account since the money had not been spent. In a possible future world taken over by passbook, this would create a huge problem for me. On the other hand, if I had NFC, it would just draw straight from my account in a single charge, so I could easily code the expense. I suppose Passbook could rework the funding so each purchase pulls striaght from your linked account instead of a funded balance, but not sure if this will happen.

    - Also not sure why Passbook needs all of these unwieldy cards to accomplish the same thing. Why can't they just have one QR reader that will recognize which store you are in, what customer rewards you have, etc. Anyone ever use LevelUp? So much easier.

    Anyway, those are my first impressions of this year's new addition. Thought people might like to hear. Leave your feedback on your experience with this app.

    Thanks
    Last edited by csal80; 10-05-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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  2. #2  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Well stated......We will all have to wait & see how Passbook plays out in the near future. Personally, I'm not sure how much I will use Passbook or if I'll use it in a manner that is different from the Keyring app. Like you, I use my debit card to buy everything and I use the cards on my iPhone for reward savings and stuff of that nature. Anyway, excellent post..
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    csal80 (10-05-2012)
  3. #3  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    A very good and informative post. You are right, if it (Passbook) is not convenient then most people won't use it. I think I'll try Key Ring instead.
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    csal80 (10-05-2012)
  4. #4  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Was your Wi-Fi turned on or off? Only reason I ask is because when testing Reminders last year, if Wi-Fi was turned off, the location based reminders were not accurate whatsoever.
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    I think Passbook is a cool app. I used it today at Starbucks no problems. For myself the only time I want a pass popping up on the lock screen is if I have a boarding pass or maybe a train ticket. Compared to having my reward cards and such on a key ring Passbook is just another option. There will be times when I wont use it just because I don't want to pull my phone out. I mean it's just an app.

    I don't go to Starbucks a whole lot so I throw like 10 buck on the card and it will sit there for months until I'm in the mood for a Cafe Mocha.

    As far as NFC goes I think Apple makes some hardware decision based on what's the mobile standard going to be for a particular thing. They waited on 3G and LTE because I these became the standard. Time will tell if NFC becomes a standard. Standard meaning everyone uses it or has to use it. If they would have thrown a NFC chip or radio in the iPhone 5 and NFC doesn't become a standard you have something in the phone just sucking up power.

    There are a lot of folks with smart phones that really don't care about NFC or Passbook non tech folks. With Passbook being just a app and it doesn't fly it can be deleted or not included in future iOS updates. Easy to do to millions of phones. A NFC chip will just sit there collecting digital dust.
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Have to admit I was excited to see how Passbook would work. Unfortunately it took watching a few YouTube videos and reading the forums to even figure out how to add a card into Passbook...seems very un-Apple for it simply not to work without much thought. Haven't used the Starbuck's card yet but that's coming tomorrow...just hope it works
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    If one watches Apple's Developer Conference Videos, you will find out a lot more about Apple's motives with Passbook and NFC. First of all, Passbook is not designed to be a general mobile payment system. It has limited functionality in this area, and it was designed to be this way.

    Apple does not plan to use NFC in future devices. THE END. There is nothing NFC can do that cannot be accomplished with Bluetooth 4.0 (Except read passive RFID tags, which is a completely unused feature). Bluetooth 4.0 offers more security, flexible ranging, and more flexible communications. I will say this, don't ever expect Apple to support NFC. There is NO REASON for them to. Besides, when they offer some type of mobile payment system based on Bluetooth 4.0, it will also be compatible with the iPhone 4s and the iPad (3), which will give them a lot of devices to use it on.

    I think that developers can adjust the size of the geofence on their passes in Passbook. So, the proximity problem you are having with Starbucks, may actually be Starbucks' fault. They set their geofence too big.

    Once again, I think your expectation is the Passbook is a wallet system. But it isn't. It is for passes, train passes, boarding passes, movie passes, sports tickets. The coupons and loyalty cards are more the afterthought in Passbook.

    The fact that there are other apps that do what you want better than Passbook makes it sound like you really should ditch it for those uses. Don't try to make it into something that it isn't.

    ---------- Post Merged at 05:26 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 05:26 AM ----------

    If one watches Apple's Developer Conference Videos, you will find out a lot more about Apple's motives with Passbook and NFC. First of all, Passbook is not designed to be a general mobile payment system. It has limited functionality in this area, and it was designed to be this way.

    Apple does not plan to use NFC in future devices. THE END. There is nothing NFC can do that cannot be accomplished with Bluetooth 4.0 (Except read passive RFID tags, which is a completely unused feature). Bluetooth 4.0 offers more security, flexible ranging, and more flexible communications. I will say this, don't ever expect Apple to support NFC. There is NO REASON for them to. Besides, when they offer some type of mobile payment system based on Bluetooth 4.0, it will also be compatible with the iPhone 4s and the iPad (3), which will give them a lot of devices to use it on.

    I think that developers can adjust the size of the geofence on their passes in Passbook. So, the proximity problem you are having with Starbucks, may actually be Starbucks' fault. They set their geofence too big.

    Once again, I think your expectation is the Passbook is a wallet system. But it isn't. It is for passes, train passes, boarding passes, movie passes, sports tickets. The coupons and loyalty cards are more the afterthought in Passbook.

    The fact that there are other apps that do what you want better than Passbook makes it sound like you really should ditch it for those uses. Don't try to make it into something that it isn't.
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  8. #8  
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Apple does not plan to use NFC in the future? Really? Man you must be on Tim's staff to know that....

    Apple holds more than 30 NFC patents already, with several more pending. It's highly likely we will see NFC in the very near future in an iPhone.
  9. Thread AuthorThread Author   #9  
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Quote Originally Posted by renstein View Post
    If one watches Apple's Developer Conference Videos, you will find out a lot more about Apple's motives with Passbook and NFC. First of all, Passbook is not designed to be a general mobile payment system. It has limited functionality in this area, and it was designed to be this way.

    Apple does not plan to use NFC in future devices. THE END. There is nothing NFC can do that cannot be accomplished with Bluetooth 4.0 (Except read passive RFID tags, which is a completely unused feature). Bluetooth 4.0 offers more security, flexible ranging, and more flexible communications. I will say this, don't ever expect Apple to support NFC. There is NO REASON for them to. Besides, when they offer some type of mobile payment system based on Bluetooth 4.0, it will also be compatible with the iPhone 4s and the iPad (3), which will give them a lot of devices to use it on.

    I think that developers can adjust the size of the geofence on their passes in Passbook. So, the proximity problem you are having with Starbucks, may actually be Starbucks' fault. They set their geofence too big.

    Once again, I think your expectation is the Passbook is a wallet system. But it isn't. It is for passes, train passes, boarding passes, movie passes, sports tickets. The coupons and loyalty cards are more the afterthought in Passbook.

    The fact that there are other apps that do what you want better than Passbook makes it sound like you really should ditch it for those uses. Don't try to make it into something that it isn't.

    ---------- Post Merged at 05:26 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 05:26 AM ----------

    If one watches Apple's Developer Conference Videos, you will find out a lot more about Apple's motives with Passbook and NFC. First of all, Passbook is not designed to be a general mobile payment system. It has limited functionality in this area, and it was designed to be this way.

    Apple does not plan to use NFC in future devices. THE END. There is nothing NFC can do that cannot be accomplished with Bluetooth 4.0 (Except read passive RFID tags, which is a completely unused feature). Bluetooth 4.0 offers more security, flexible ranging, and more flexible communications. I will say this, don't ever expect Apple to support NFC. There is NO REASON for them to. Besides, when they offer some type of mobile payment system based on Bluetooth 4.0, it will also be compatible with the iPhone 4s and the iPad (3), which will give them a lot of devices to use it on.

    I think that developers can adjust the size of the geofence on their passes in Passbook. So, the proximity problem you are having with Starbucks, may actually be Starbucks' fault. They set their geofence too big.

    Once again, I think your expectation is the Passbook is a wallet system. But it isn't. It is for passes, train passes, boarding passes, movie passes, sports tickets. The coupons and loyalty cards are more the afterthought in Passbook.

    The fact that there are other apps that do what you want better than Passbook makes it sound like you really should ditch it for those uses. Don't try to make it into something that it isn't.
    Well, if apple did not design passbook to in some form or fashion be a mobile payment system, then I would once again say that apple missed the boat. Mobile payments are now, not the future, and that is what a lot of people want. The tech savvy people drive this new innovation in the now, the rest of the world will catch on and adopt later. If Bluetooth is the conduit, then they should have invested time to bring it to us for the iOS 6 release. This would have shut a lot of people up and silenced the criticism for not including NFC.
  10. #10  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    renstein hits the nail on the head with the point that Passbook is not meant to be a mobile wallet - just a pass system.

    NFC, OTOH, is a payment system - that hasn't completely baked yet. There is still no standard for it, which is whey we can't all pull a credit card out of our wallets this instant and show the NFC chip. The banking industry, and then the retail industry have to standardize what they want from NFC before consumers can really take advantage of it - and until that time, there's not much point in having an NFC enabled device.
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    For the record, Apple has never been interested in being the first company to institute a hardware solution. NFC is still very young and still needs a lot of work before it is ready to be mass consumed. Apple waited until the market was ripe for LTE deployment and they will do the same thing with NFC. The number of places where you can use NFC is quite limited and until it's more widely employed, I wouldn't expect to see it from Apple.
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  12. #12  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    I'd be very surprised to hear that Apple isn't getting a 'cut' from every provider to whom they link into Passbook.

    For me, its Apple adding yet another app users really didn't ask for / need (also see recently Apple Maps, Siri, Newsstand) in a way we can't delete if we find it pointless - or just plain bad. I already have the Starbucks app (free), why would then use Passbook? As for rail and plane tix, I can already pull up (via their websites or my Mail app, when my trip is confirmed) the necessary scan image. Why then transfer it over to this app?

    They should spend less time embedding new stuff in the iOS we don't need and more time fixing the issues in the iOS and apps that they know about.
  13. #13  
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Outside the US, NFC use is expanding like wildfire.

    I use it every day.

    If Apple doesn't adopt it soon, they will lose market share. Several of my iPhone toting friends are now looking at Android devices just for their NFC ability. They are not zealots with hundreds of apps and won't miss the App Store ecosystem.

    Bluetooth 4.0 has no momentum and no chance to ever overtake NFC.
  14. #14  
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazza1 View Post
    I'd be very surprised to hear that Apple isn't getting a 'cut' from every provider to whom they link into Passbook.
    There are no passbook royalties. No cut given to Apple.
  15. #15  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    But NFC doesn't do ANYTHING that can't be done with Bluetooth, except read RFID tags. There is no reason to implement it. In the Developer Conference session for Bluetooth, when outlining the future uses of Bluetooth Low Energy, the presenter stated "using it for mobile payments". Anandtech outline one of the reasons that it would not work in the iPhone 5 was that the antenna for NFC was too large to use the glass windows in the back of the phone. So, unless they change the design of the iPhone next year, NFC will not be included again.

    Also, if you want to do a mobile payment system, you need as many users as fast as possible. By rolling out a mobile payment system based on Bluetooth, all the users of the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5 will be able to participate, creating a large ecosystem already. Why would you artificially limit it to just the new phone and have a smaller ecosystem?

    And Apple has lots of patents on stuff they never use. We are still waiting for that cool FaceTime camera that is built right into the screen of the phone. Which would be cool.

    Really, it just makes no sense to add NFC. Adds extra cost to what they already have, it adds extra design considerations, and limits the size of the ecosystem.

    ---------- Post Merged at 02:28 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 02:22 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by csal80 View Post
    The tech savvy people drive this new innovation in the now, the rest of the world will catch on and adopt later.
    I don't think Apple makes products for the "tech savvy people" anymore. They aren't making products for the 1% early adopters. They are making products for the 99% regular people. I think that's why a lot of nerds hate Apple now. So, when Apple releases mobile payments, it has to work for the rest of us. And, it has to work with many, many partners. You have to work with banks, credit card companies, retailers. It really isn't going to be easy to just jump into this market.
  16. #16  
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Apple holds a patent on using an NFC antennae within a metal enclosure. The design cuts the antennae spiral into the back of the metal casing. It's very clever. No windows needed. One of the "leaked" iPhone 5 back plates actually showed what could have been this NFC antennae.

    What can't Bluetooth 4.0 do? It can't work with the millions of NFC terminals already in place today. Merchants would need to purchase another mobile device terminal. Bluetooth operates at 2.4-2.5 GHz. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz. Though I've read blog entries that state backwards compatibility, no one has ever said how that works... The only tech I've seen combines an NFC tag with a Bluetooth device for pairing the two transparently. It still required the NFC tag and did not talk to the other NFC device natively.

    Though Apple may indeed go with Bluetooth 4.0 in iWallet, that would go AGAINST the primary excuse everyone is making about Apple not adopting bleeding edge technology. Which merchants are selling Bluetooth 4.0 payment terminals today, and how many of those are in place compared with NFC.

    Though there are multiple NFC payment gateway standards, that's just forward, not hardware. NFC terminals work with all NFC radios and tags. My Touch n Go tag registers at McDonalds, they just don't know how to charge me. That's a simple problem to overcome in an NFC enabled smart phone.

    Though it may end up like VHS and BetaMax. Sony lost that one to momentum, not technology.
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  17. #17  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    I think we've gone way out of the Passbook conversation now. While this NFC argument really is just theoretical and fun, it doesn't really doesn't concern Passbook that much, as for some reason Apple chose to use barcodes with that one. And, in the end, time will tell if Apple chooses to go NFC or not. Even though there is a lot of NFC out there already, it isn't ubiquitous yet. Do you know the count of NFC enabled phones out there? I still don't see Apple going there unless it feels forced to. It leaves too much to other companies. I really think we will see what happens when iOS 7 comes out (next year's developer's conference) and the next gen iPhone. It would be very poor form for Apple to tell its developers this year that it sees Bluetooth as a good way to do mobile payments, then yank the rug out from under them. But, they've done that before.

    Just to add in some numbers.
    At Google I/O, Google said that there were 1 million Android phones per week being activated with NFC, that accounted for about 1/7 of sales at the time. I imagine it has increased since them. But, was less before that. At the same time in June, they said they had 400 million activations in total. You can draw in your own conclusions to how many Android phones with NFC there are by now. I would guess a high estimate would be maybe 200 million.

    In Asymco, Horace made an estimate that by the end of September, there would be about 100 million iPhone 4S sold. Add to that however many iPhone 5 has sold. I heard it was a lot.

    So, if Apple, today, released a Bluetooth wallet solution, it would not be much smaller than the possible Google Wallet market size. Then, if you were able to count how many Android phones had Bluetooth 4.0 as well.... like Apple would ever write software for Android.
    Last edited by renstein; 10-07-2012 at 12:28 AM. Reason: Adding in some numbers.
  18. #18  
    Heckler's Avatar
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Well, I was in Starbucks twice today and in neither case did Passbook function as advertised. The first time it never came up and the second time it took 5 min for the card to pop up in my notifications. Most definitely not the Apple experience I was expecting and that I've been fond of for so long.

    Like Siri, this thing is half-baked
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  19. #19  
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    Default Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    Reading reviews for the Starbucks app in the UK and we don't have passbook support, apparently. That sucks.
  20. #20  
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    Default Re: Why I don't think Passbook was the way to go ...

    This is very Informative forum discussion. Passbook iOS 6 is a promising tool, but it needs to be less confusing. I hope Apple notices and makes some changes to the way Passbook gets pushed.

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