Apple has been approved a new patent that could enable the next iPhone to be used as a ticket or boarding pass at bus or airport terminals.
Granted only yesterday, the latest filing involves “a method and system for transportation check-in (e.g., ticketing and identification) via near field communication (NFC)” for use with handheld devices, namely mobile phones, using a dedicated iTravel app.
This adds fresh credence to longstanding rumours that the iPhone 5 will support NFC out of the box, even though Apple has so far remained tight-lipped about its plans for the much-hyped technology.
“The handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveller identifications using a travel management application,” the application states.
“For example, travel reservations may be made via the management application or may be retrieved from an email, a website, another NFC-enabled device, or a carrier-provided confirmation number.”
NFC’s main claim to fame has been the ability to facilitate fast, contactless payments and easy data transfer between devices. However, despite adoption by major mobile manufacturers, networks and vendors around the world, it has yet to gain the sort of mainstream traction it needs to become an industry standard, which is one of the reasons Apple has yet to get on board.
However, these patent filings suggest that Cupertino-based giant is at least interested and is exploring its options. If and when it decides to join the party, it will want to have competitive advantage over rivals and it looks it’s on the right path to doing that.
Source: USPTO via Engadget