2012.21 | iOS 6 & Retail

Apple recently announced iOS 6 at the Apple 2012 WWDC in San Francisco. There are the usual hundreds of changes to the OS, but of jthe many that Apple chose to share there are a couple that stand out from the perspective of those of us who work in retail environments.

Passbook – Recognizing that the electronic versions of tickets, boarding passes, coupons and loyalty cards are growing in popularity, Apple has announced that a new app called passbook will be introduced in iOS 6. The Passbook app will represent a mini-wallet to organize these items on an iDevice.

Instead of using an individual app to access each coupons, loyalty card, and ticket, users will be able to access all such items in a central convenient location on their device.

Reminders ensures users don’t forget they have a time based ticket. Based on set times and geographical locations relevant to the item in the passbook, a reminder will show on the screen. The user swipes on the phone to access the relevant ticket, coupon, or loyalty card.

This app is a potentially double edged sword for retailers. While reminders can provide an increase in usage of offers and provide a useful service to ticket holders, it can potentially reduce the need for users to visit the retailers own app, and remove a modicum of control from the experience the retailer wishes to offer.

This is an intelligent first step for developing a mobile wallet. I’m often challenged by retailers on what the next mobile wallet may be. The challenge has not been a technological one for many years – the challenge is an organizational one.

For users to actually commit to using a mobile wallet – that platform can’t be owned by a single retailer or bank or credit card company with walls to keep others out. Users can put anything they want in their wallets and any transition to an electronic mobile platform has to have enough of the things people might want to put in their wallets available.

iDevices and Apple have the mindshare with retailers and other consumer facing organizations as they understand the popularity of the devices with consumers and the potential business increases those can bring. That inertia, combined with Apples locked down app store with its conceptually secure and trusted app ecosystem means many retailers could get on board with Passbook. Starbucks, Fandango and United Airlines are apparently on board and this app isn’t even in broad release as yet.

When key retailers get on board people can get enough of the things they want into their Passbook to make it worthwhile. From there, it’s a logical step to a filing cabinet of store receipts. From there, perhaps payments could follow.

It isnt a sure thing but Apple is well placed to make it happen, and has more parts than anyone else at present.

Accessibility & Guided Access – The other Potential iOS angle of interest to retailers is one not designed for them. To increase accessibility for children and others who may need assistance to focus Apple is providing a locked down mode where users can only access apps the iDevice owner chooses and disables the home button.

Trying it out will show its full impact, but effectively this provides a rudimentary iPad kiosk mode. This is great news for iPad restaurant menus and a step forward for those using iPads as kiosks.

Did you see something in the iOS preview that impacts retail? Let me know in the comments!

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