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Bryan M. Wolfe
| October 2, 2012
Op-Ed: The Problem With Apple's Passbook
By this point, Starbucks fans were supposed to be getting their daily caffeine fix courtesy of Apple’s new Passbook app. W Hotels customers were also expecting by now to utilize the new feature to review upcoming reservations. And this says nothing about Apple’s own Store app, which hasn’t been updated for iOS 6 let alone for Passbook. What’s the problem? I haven’t a clue. But one number tells the whole story, 11. That is the number of apps that have gotten the Passbook treatment nearly three weeks after iOS 6 was released to the public. You heard right, only 11. [caption id="attachment_343685" align="aligncenter" width="512"] Starbucks app[/caption] Some may argue that it has only been three weeks, and that I should give Apple a break. Yet, I would suggest that this isn’t an acceptable excuse, especially from a company the size of Apple. In fact, Apple’s sluggish implementation of Passbook almost certainly represents yet another example of what I consider to be the company’s recent propensity to make each of us a beta tester. Either that, or Apple’s marketing arm is so far out of sync with reality that we should no longer take much of what is posted at Apple.com, or even demoed at press events as accurate. Consider the Starbucks app, which just happens to be one of the most popular in the App Store. Since June, Apple has often advertised Passbook using this photo, which remains online and was recently updated to show the iPhone 5: [caption id="attachment_343677" align="aligncenter" width="491"] Deceptive Advertising or Simply Premature[/caption] As you can see, the Starbucks app isn’t just shown here, it is the featured app! Nonetheless, even after Starbucks sent out a tweet promising “our Passbook update” would be out by the end of September, it is nowhere to be found. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and one of their properties, W Hotels Worldwide, also promised Passbook compatibility. To date, neither app is supported by Apple’s new feature, yet each is heavily promoted as being Passbook capable.
Updated to iOS 6? Our Passbook update is coming at the end of this month! 00111010 00101001 — Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) September 21, 2012Finally, we have the Apple Store app, which last received an update on Sept. 6. This means that the tool Cupertino relies on to generate hardware sales through the iPhone isn’t even setup for iOS 6 or Passbook. Really Apple? What happened to things just working? Most likely, I’ll publish this article and all of the apps mentioned here will receive their long-awaited update. Until then, however, Apple’s Passbook problems are just the latest in a series of software missteps, following problems with iOS 6 Apple Maps and Siri.