Just last month Apple announced its new Passbook app for iOS 6. Now Apple has been granted a new patent for the NFC-enabled app, iTravel. Essentially, it’s a reservation and check-in app that uses NFC to help eliminate problems on the road.
The iTravel app has a number of features and functions that help with traveling logistics. Unwired describes these functions:[quote]The main focus of the patent is how you would use your next iPhone with NFC chip at the airport check-in. It includes loading your ID info such as picture, retinal scan and fingerprint data from modern passports with embedded radio frequency identification tags. Collecting your ticket information from reservation confirmation e-mails/notifications, or extracting reservation images via optical character recognition software, barcode-reading software, or QR-code-reading software. Providing the necessary information at the NFC equipped check-in counter, and receiving the boarding pass with luggage info in exchange. Using the stored ID to pass through airport security, etc.[/quote]
Apple filed for this patent in September 2008 and it was available for public viewing in April 2010. Now that it has been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple has more protection if it decides to launch this application.
With Passbook being released later this year and with NFC possibly being included, Apple’s iTravel concept could very possibly be released for iOS devices in some form. If it goes public, it could provide definite competition for other travel apps that already exist.