Passbook is the coolest iOS 6 feature you can’t use

passbook is the coolest ios 6 feature you cant use fl
There are a lot of great (and not-so-great) things about iOS 6, and Passbook falls somewhere in between. Apple first introduced us to its digital wallet back at WWDC, a clean, unified payment system on your iPhone that kept track of your various loyalty cards and respective balances. The image showed off accounts with Target, Fandago, Starbucks, Amtrak, United, among others. It looked simple, easy, obvious.

And it would be – or rather, will be – once brands get on board. But consider the stock image Apple keeps showing off with Passbook something of a wish list for the time being.

When iOS 6 officially dropped this week, the native Passbook app showed up on the home page, and I hope I’m not the only one to experience the disappointment of selecting the icon only to be bounced to the App Store where I was given a choice of four apps I could add to the wallet. On Wednesday, the only options were Fandango, Live Nation, Lufthansa, and MLB.com At Bat. Not exactly a stellar lineup for launch day.

passbook nowBut things are already getting better: Open your Passbook, hit the App Store prompt, and you’ll find a much better variety at your disposal. Now, American Airlines, Sephora, Belly Card, Target, United Airlines, American Express, and Walgreens are all now working with Passbook to bring you digital payment and account handling services – that’s a pretty impressive bump since opening day, and the list is continuing to grow. A number of other outlets have announced they’ll be hitting Passbook soon, including Starbucks (within weeks) and a variety of theme parks. A few b2b brands, like Tello, have also announced they’ll be building tools to help brands manage their Passbook integration 

You have to give Apple its due on filling out the selection as quickly as possible – however, there are some other significant kinks, and they mostly boil down to a huge lack of instruction on how this thing works. After you’re bounced to the App Store and it’s made (at best) moderately clear these are the Passbook-friendly apps, you download a few. Then you’d expect upon re-opening Passbook that they would be there, right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong. They simply are installed on your screen, like any other app, with no indication on the iPhone’s part how you get them into your new, iOS digital wallet.

In order for these apps to sit in your Passbook a la that pretty little stock image we keep seeing from Apple, it appears you have to use them first. But nowhere is this made explicitly clear in Passbook or the participating apps. There’s currently no way to be in Passbook and immediately load apps into the wallet – which seems like the most obvious way to create a seamless, easy user experience.

And then there’s this problem:

passbook bug

Occasionally when you hit the App Store prompt from Passbook, you’ll get the above message. When you exit out of Passbook and shut it down, however, you’ll be able to get into the App Store on it’s own. Frustrating? You bet. Macworld found a fix you can check out here, but that’s just a glitch a finished product shouldn’t have.

Reviews about how it actually works have been varied. Given the fact that compatible apps are still being introduced, the Passbook testing has been timid. For the most part, however, early users found the process complicated and buggy.  

Passbook could be great, and it’s almost certain that bug fixes are on the way. But right now, veteran mobile wallet Lemon’s quick and easy camera capture for card storage is far superior, as is PassSource, where you can log in via desktop for set up purposes. Passbook assume that we can go all-digital, all at once, but did so without partners totally in place of a unified system. Oh, and also, we still have physical wallets full of cards that we need to do something about. It’s messy, it’s buggy, it’s broken – in short, Passbook has big dreams and decent potential, but right now it’s simply an unfinished product on Apple’s part, and the nicest thing anyone can say about it is that it’s a work in progress. 

[Additional reporting by Francis Bea]

Product Review

Fitbit injects its Charge 3 fitness tracker with smartwatch features

Fitbit’s new wearable is part fitness tracker, part smartwatch. Building off of the Fitbit Charge 2, the Charge 3 has a sleeker look and more capabilities, for $150. We take a first look at what the Charge 3 has to offer.
Computing

Use one of these password managers to stay safe online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper passcode manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options. Find the right password software…
Computing

Crypto-intrigued? Here's how to buy Bitcoin for the first time

Is it time to purchase your first Bitcoin investment? If you're ready to get involved in the cryptocurrency, we'll walk you through how to pick an exchange, how to choose the right wallet, and how to buy Bitcoin the safe way!
Mobile

Sixth public beta of iOS 12 still lacks one key feature

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Mobile

How to find a lost phone, whether it's Android, iPhone, or any other kind

Need to know how to find a lost phone? Here, we’ll help you locate your lost or stolen phone using both native and third-party apps and services, whether it’s a smartphone or an older variety.
Computing

These 30 apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Photography

How iPhone photographers connect the world using only ‘basic’ gear

August 19 is World Photography Day, marking progress from the daguerreotype to the iPhone. But how do today's photographers create a connection to viewers using basic gear? We talked to iPhone photographers and influencers around the world…
Computing

New Apple MacBook may appear in September at $1,200

Apple may reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Apple originally intended these units to rely on Intel’s now-delayed 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors.
Mobile

AirDrop makes sending files to Apple devices easy -- here's how

Want to send files or photos to your friends when you're standing directly beside them? Instead of texting or emailing, why not learn how to use AirDrop? Here's everything you need to know about using AirDrop on both iOS and MacOS.
Deals

Save up to $900 with the best smartphone deals for August 2018

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.
Computing

Style up your MacBook Air with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers and padded sleeves priced from $7 to $130. Happy shopping!
Apple

New patent suggests multiuser support could one day come to Siri

A new patent suggests that a major improvement may be in the works for Apple's digital assistant. Nothing has been confirmed, but Apple may soon work on implementing multiuser support for Siri.
Mobile

iPad battery explosion prompts Apple Store evacuation in Amsterdam

An iPad battery exploded in an Apple Store over the weekend, causing breathing issues for staff members, and requiring the fire brigade and an ambulance to attend. The incident took place in Amsterdam.
Mobile

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.