I’ll admit that I’m a fan of the iPhone and iOS. If you asked me 10 years ago I would have said Microsoft all the way but not these days. Anyway, since I travel so much for work I have a new fondness for Passbook. The cool thing about Passbook is that it stores my credit cards for Apple Pay, my boarding passes when I fly on American Airlies, my Walgreens card for getting points (how do you accumulate points anyway?), and some of my rewards cards for hotels and other airlines to let me know how many points I have to burn.
I think this fuctionality should be extended to drivers licenses and insurance cards because I am really never without my phone when I go out of the house but there are instances where I have forgotten my wallet or I’ve taken out key cards (like said license and insurance cards when I hop on my motorcycle) and forget to put them back in my wallet only to discover when I’m out that I don’t have them on me. My most recent trip to DIsney is a good example. The day before I took out my license, primary insurance card (I have 3 cards because of regular health, prescription, and vision) and my credit card since I didn’t feel like lugging around my entire wallet. The next day I went up to DIsney to cheer on my wife and daughter in their respective runDisney races. When we stopped for lunch pulled out my wallet and noticed that my cards were missing when I was going to pay. Luckily I have another card that I use a lot less frequently so crisis was averted for lunch and the weekend but it still underscores how useful it would have been to have those cards as part of Passbook.
Insurance cards shouldn’t be difficult by any measure since most doctors offices just need a few numbers off the card itself and if they used the security of Touch ID like on the iPhone 5 and later, the numbers can be hidden until the phone is unlocked or your fingerprint recognized like when I go to Whole Foods to get some groceries. I’ve heard that some states are debating digital drivers licenses and I think it would be a good thing for the state of Florida to adopt it. Keep the regular drivers license for those that dont use iPhones or smart phones in general but give people the option of using their phones instead. For a frequet traveler like me that would be totally awesome since I could probably leave my wallet at home unless I felt like carrying around cash.
Come to think of it, places like BJ’s and Costco should let members use their phones in this manner as well since using that stupid card all the time is kind of redundant. Walgreens has no problem using Passbook so I can attempt to get rewards points so it shouldn’t be a far stretch for these places to use it as well. BJ’s alread supports Apple Pay so its not a big reach to make the membership card digital as well.
I’m hoping that something like this will be a reality soon, it would make it simpler for a lot of people that want to go cashless (if it wasn’t for the cards I needed, I could leave my wallet home already!). Besides going cashless has its perks since I get rewards points with my credi card. The linchpin will be state and federal governmen accepting digital ID’s as a valid form of identification at places like airports or government buildings etc. If they could make the Global Entry card digital and a valid thing that would be awesome too and I would’t have to risk losing my license every time I took it out of my wallet to go through security. I’ll probably be waiting for a long time until this happens but until then I can certainly hope that insurance companies and the government will see that the entire planet is moving digital and these silly plastic cards are not necessary any longer.
After much fan fare, the new app called The Daily has arrived. I just downloaded this app for my iPad to see what all the hub bub is about. This is a new offering from News Corp (the ones that run 20th Century Fox and Fox TV) to bring new content to all of us that were fortunate to be able to buy an iPad. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with the app yet since I just downloaded it but the concept is pretty awesome, however this has already been done before just not to this level. I have other apps like the NY Times and NPR that also publish news that I consume but I think the selling point they are trying to do with The Daily is that it is all original content. Hmm… I don’t know if that really is a selling point for most people. The iPad is a consumer machine that pulls down all types of data from the web. The best part about the iPad is that I can view the web using Safari and it shows me what I want minus all the Flash content.
I’ve been reading some of the articles here and they are no better or worse than what I read on the web. What gets me is that they want people pay for the content like a regular magazine subscription. This is interesting considering you can do the exact same thing using the Kindle App and you have a great many more sources of content using Kindle than just using The Daily. I do give kudos to Fox and Apple for execution. The app is fully interactive complete with video content and its all seemless. It definitely has the “COOL” factor down pat. It also has interactivity with Sudoku puzzles and ads. The best part that a lot of other magazines have failed at during their implementation of subscription based apps is that you can view the content while it loads. I tried out two digital magazines, one of them I can’t remember and the other was Travel and Leisure. Both magazines had to load the whole magazine before I was able to view the content. I only have a Wifi iPad but I typically use it at home and my connection is pretty fast so it should have taken no time at all to load the content. That would be a big negative on that one, it took almost 30 minutes to load the content, by that time I was already interested in doing something else entirely instead of reading the magazine.
I’m not sure I would ever pay for this but I can see some people going for this kind of app. What is nice is that Verizon gives a two week subscription away for you to try before you buy. That would be awesome if more apps were like this. I’ve been able to do the same thing using apps from Cydia (yeah I’m a jailbreaker :P). I’ll give this more of a test drive later this week and see how often the content updates. In the mean time, I have all my news sites bookmarked and there is always my Flipboard app that has all my RSS, Twitter, and Facebook feeds which by itself keeps me pretty busy.
My friend Sara got me hooked on this thing so I blame her for all the tags I am going to start accumulating and posting on Twitter. This seems to be the next social network phenom that uses your GPS location to tag different places on the planet. Enter foursquare!
So what does foursquare actually do? From what I can tell it tags your location (or checks you in) and shows your location to your friends so they can follow you around (this is great for stalkers) and if you have a particular opinion about the place you can post it and your friends can read it. This is pretty ingenious if you think about it, its kind of like Yelp but in a more stream lined form. I am using the iPhone version of this app and I have location services running all the time so it knows where I am. I can check into various places in the area that I’m in and get points for doing so. The cool part is that it has Twitter and Facebook integration. In addition to that, as you make recommendations, it will post it to Twitter or Facebook and it will show up on your feeds. I’m currently only using the Twitter feed part as an experiment. I don’t think I’m going to be using the Facebook one since I post enough crap on Facebook as it is via other automated feeds.
I think the mass appeal of this app is that its a real time game so to speak. You check into different locations to get points. As you accumulate points you get badges, as you get more badges you get more bragging rights. Sounds pretty simple really. It almost forces you to explore the area you live in or where you travel so you can get more points and one up your friends. I think this is kind of like how Farmville got people hooked on getting higher levels or more crap on their farm than their friends. I guess it calls to our natural competitive nature. Anyway, we’ll see how long I can keep this up. There is another cool app that I saw online that will check you in automatically called Future Checkin (I think this is made for iOS4 to work in the background so maybe this might not be good for people running 3.1.3). Although it causes some battery drain it saves you from actually having to go into the app all the time and checking into places.
I think I’ll try this app some more today when I’m going to lunch and going to the airport. It should get me a few more badges if I ever remember to run the thing.