Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Passing on Passbook

Screenshot of Passbook in iOS 6Last week, I wrote about Apple’s Maps app in iOS 6 being below the standard we’ve come to expect from Cupertino. Today, I’m looking at another underwhelming app – Passbook.

Passbook is meant to be there to store your loyalty cards, boarding passes, tickets and coupons. Right now, a week after the launch of iOS 6, it’ll handle your boarding passes from a few airlines, and that’s about it. This is an increase from precisely zero at launch.

Apple’s web site shows many more services in a screenshot, such as Starbucks, but as yet there’s no update to the Starbucks iOS app to support Passbook. In fact, in the UK, there are only 6 apps supporting it at all right now.

I can’t help but to wonder whether, like with Maps, Apple would have been better waiting a bit, to allow more apps to take advantage of Passbook. The adoption of iOS 6 has been impressive, with significant numbers of people already having upgraded, and I’m sure some will have noticed the new Passbook icon, opened the app, seen that it can’t really do anything and then ignored it. That’s not good.

Had Apple waited until iOS 6.1, and launched with a wider range of Passbook apps in all markets, then it could have been a genuinely useful and popular feature from day one. As it happens, I can see lots of people ignoring it, because right now it barely does anything, and that’s a shame.


  1. This isn’t Apple’s fault that more developers weren’t ready on iOS 6 launch day. Adding it to 6.1 or whatever wouldn’t have helped either. Starbucks has admitted that they are delayed in getting their app update out, but others are already ready to go.

    but as other bloggers have mentioned, there’s more “Uh, now what?” than there should be. This guy says a lot of true stuff:

    I like the concept and will probably be using it. In fact, I’ll be taking several flights on Lufthansa over the next few months, so I’m looking forward to using it. And at Starbucks and Fandango too. I don’t always expect every feature to be amazing to me on launch day.. I can wait a month or so. 🙂

  2. “Um, now what?” was exactly my reaction to Passbook. One of the apps (Fandango) was touted by Apple as “Passbook Ready”. So we bought our movie tickets last weekend via the Fandango app but found no way to actually add them to Passbook. So after a spot of light googling, found a lot of people going “er, what?” as far as what Passbook actually *could* do. So it has promptly gone in my “shitty shit” folder on my last screen where I place all the Apple apps that cannot be deleted. Shame.