Last week a couple friends of ours invited us out to an Eric Sardinas show at the House of Blues in Chicago. I realized it was the perfect opportunity to give Passbook a real chance.
I installed the Live Nation app, found the show, and bought two tickets. Alongside Live Nation’s built-in ticket display feature is a new Passbook option, so I tapped it. The two tickets I bought were listed separately, so I had to tap each one to add them to Passbook. It seems like that should’ve been a one-tap process, but this is a minor complaint about a 1.0 shot at A Big New Thing.
It is at this point I think it’s worth noting there is nothing particularly proprietary about Passbook content. They’re just bundles of HTML, a couple icons, and a couple JSON files that contain the meat and potatoes of what makes your ticket(s) yours. In fact, a few services are cropping up that let you roll your own Passbook items for things like affiliate memberships or coupons you got in the mail. If the place you plan to use them has basic hardware to scan bar codes or, in some cases, fancier QR codes (like my House of Blues tickets), you can use these passes.
Sidenote for my sidenote: isn’t it funny how, for years, QR codes have been the butt of many a tech joke and even a whole blog, but Apple could very well propel them to actually being used with a single OS update and app?
Back to my night out with friends and Passbook, we hopped the Metra into Chicago and walked to dinner. When we were about a block and a half away from the House of Blues, Passbook displayed an alert presenting our tickets for the night’s event. I slid the alert’s icon and Passbook opened to present our tickets for scanning. It was great—I didn’t have to go digging through my homescreens or folders, and once I have more cards and tickets in here, I look forward to not having to manually open Passbook and dig through a bunch of said cards and tickets. My iPhone does the right thing for me.
Besides the multiple tickets complaint, my big request from this experience is for Passbook to be even more integrated into the ticket experience. For example: the next time I buy tickets from an app like Live Nation, I want the final step of the process to just toss my tickets and I over to the Passbook app; I shouldn’t have to manually add my tickets to Passbook by tapping one or more icons or list entries. If I’m doing something that could end in Passbook on my iPhone, I want it to just end up there.
Maybe some people don’t want to use Passbook for stuff like this, but I’m not a psychologist so I’m not sure what personality disorders would cause people to make such a decision. Assuming these people do indeed exist, maybe this could be a setting, be it system-wide (“If It Could Work In Passbook, Send It To Passbook”) or per-app.
But Passbook worked so well on my first real-world outing that I now want to use it for everything Passbook related, even if I have to spend a little time to roll my own. My iPhone is doing more of my work for me, and doing it well. That’s a fantastic win in my book.