Pass By or Passbook?
If you use one of Apple's partner apps within Passbook then it might be more than just a novelty in the last big upgrade to iOS 6.0. If you fly United or Lufthansa often, or drink way too much coffee at Starbacks, it might be a regular friend. But, for most, this is an app whose time is yet to come, something that could change as tens of millions of Samsung owners are soon to get their own version called Wallet.
The app was shown off at MWC in Barcelona on Wednesday and is available for developers and partners to test, but will soon be out, possibly for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 (have you seen the rumored specifications yet) in a couple of weeks. Such a feature would also be welcome in devices like the new Note 8.0.?
Spreading the Wealth
The Wallet app offers a broadly similar set of features to Apple's idea with no NFC support, taking the bar-code route. With it, you can keep those tickets, boarding passes, membership or loyalty cards, and coupons. You get reminders as things expire or if you're near an outlet and doubtless other useful information on offers too. Check out the app in action.
Samsung says a similar range of partners to Apple are being lined up with stores like Walgreens, sporting and ticket services like MLB Advanced Media; trip assistants including Expedia, Hotels.com or Booking.com, and airlines like Lufthansa for launch, with many more to come.
The big question is, will there be a groundswell of users after the initial download and testing-it-out phase. Something big will happen in mobile wallets sooner or later, but for most users, these apps feel like placeholders, waiting for the main event.