iOS6 Passbook

Developers are already releasing their own gift and loyalty card apps for Passbook — an app that puts your loyalty cards, coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, and more on the iPhone. The app launched today, alongside iOS 6, Apple’s latest mobile operating system.

Passbook comes pre-loaded in iOS 6, and is, get this, an app that app builders can build apps for — it’s kind of its own little platform. Developers are able to create Passbook applications of their various gift cards and tickets, branded to their liking. When a user downloads these apps from the App Store, they will immediately be installed inside Passbook for use.

“The tool-set enables folks like us — developers — to be able to personalize [the apps] to our brand,” said senior vice president of Major League Baseball Events Media Adam Ritter in an interview with VentureBeat. “If you think about MLB, we have 30 clubs and every club has a very distinct logo and color palette. We had the flexibility with Passbook to create tickets that were unique to the individual club.”

The MLB was one of the Passbook apps available at launch, and was featured at Apple’s iPhone 5 launch event on September 12.

Ritter says the company is already offering mobile tickets, which are rising in popularity for the sport. The company was even sending them to customers via SMS. Passbook was a natural next step.

And more companies are flocking to the app now that it is available for broad use. According to MacRumors, Ticketmaster, Fandago, Lufthansa, and Walgreens Passbook apps are now all available for download.

While Password is one of those “duh, this should exist” apps, it does have its downfalls. There’s the age-old issue of your phone dying on you before you get to the event, and paper just doesn’t have as many glitches as technology does. But, of course, you could lose the paper and then you’d have no chance of seeing Bon Jovi sing Livin’ on a Prayer. But, for companies such as Sephora and Starbucks, the reason to devote resources to building a Passbook app go deeper than “convenience.”

“Our customers love Apple products and so we like to go where our customers are and do things that enhance their experience and connect them to the brand on devices and with platforms that they are already using and already love,” said Starbucks senior vice president and chief digital officer Adam Brotman in an interview with VentureBeat.

Senior vice president of Sephora Digital, Julie Bornstein, told us that 75 percent of customers who accessed Sephora online (via website or mobile app) did so from an Apple device.

For those looking to develop for the Passbook app, David Nelsen, chief executive of Giftango, has a word of warning. You’ll need to make sure you can connect to the merchant’s servers to get real time information about gift cards and purchases. You’ll also need to comply with any branding that company has. These tasks are less pressing if you are the one offering the ticket, gift card, or loyalty program.

hat tip MacRumors; Passbook image via VentureBeat

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