Starbucks to support Apple's Passbook by the end of September

The popular coffeehouse company already has an app for iOS (and Android) for paying your coffee, but Starbucks announced that by the end of September, customers can use Passbook instead. Passbook is Apple's mobile payment solution which uses barcodes and partly relies on geolocation. So if you walk into a Starbucks store and grab your iPhone, it should automatically present you with the Starbucks card inside Passbook. Then you pay by scanning the barcode on the display over an optical reader.

Starbucks made the announcement in a tweet with some binary code in it, which translates into a smiling emoticon :)

Macworld thinks Starbucks' current digital payment card will be integrated into Apple's solution. When the coffee company started the digital service back in 2011 it said it preferred to use optical readers with barcodes instead of NFC, because there aren't enough NFC-equipped phones. The recently launched iPhone 5 also misses support for Near Field Communication, because according to Apple, Passbook "does the kinds of things customers need today."

Apple's app contains boarding passes, tickets, store cards and coupons. It's not a direct competitor to Google's Wallet yet, because it misses support for credit and debit cards.

Source: Macworld | Images via Apple

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What's a pity Starbuck and certainly others prefer to support proprietary Apple-only solution instead of NFC open solution wich give more choice ans freedom to consumers...

Wireless wookie said,
What's a pity Starbuck and certainly others prefer to support proprietary Apple-only solution instead of NFC open solution wich give more choice ans freedom to consumers...
Why are you so quick to take Starbucks choice away of supporting both? A barcode scanner isn't new tech and NFC is. I don't remember reading anywhere that if you use passbook, you are legally not allowed to get NFC. Can you post a link for us so we know why you think that using passbook prevents Starbucks from also getting NFC?

ILikeTobacco said,
Why are you so quick to take Starbucks choice away of supporting both? A barcode scanner isn't new tech and NFC is. I don't remember reading anywhere that if you use passbook, you are legally not allowed to get NFC. Can you post a link for us so we know why you think that using passbook prevents Starbucks from also getting NFC?

the answer is in your question : I can't post any link about the Starbuck NFC support... But yes there are some about their Passbook support

Brian Miller said,

So you don't have to "tap" the device anywhere to activate the "pay now" feature?

Nope, from what I've seen, it is just a glorified barcode creator. The big pull on it is that it will, in the future hopefully, have support all over for it since most places have some form of barcode these days.

Pygmy_Hippo said,
Yeah, but come on - what's the likelihood of people who use Apple products also being Starbucks customers?

I wanted to say "Apple users and Starbucks patrons: like tools in a toolbelt" but I think I like your comment better

Slayer said,

I wanted to say "Apple users and Starbucks patrons: like tools in a toolbelt" but I think I like your comment better

Oh, I don't know, anything that calls Apple users a bunch of tools is alright by me!

Sent from my iPad

n_K said,
So errr, how secure is this? Gonna be hacks posted for getting free coffees and such ?

Looks like you pay for the thing online or get a coupon and then the coupon is saved in your Passbook as a barcode. It would be a unique barcode just for your coffee.
Then they just scan the barcode.

Much more complicated than NFC. Don't see why you couldn't use another phone to show the barcode though.

n_K said,
So errr, how secure is this? Gonna be hacks posted for getting free coffees and such ?
It would be no less secure than buying a gift card since that is basically what you are doing, just for yourself.

The thing is, the Apple fans have been saying that NFC is unproven and not needed because nobody uses NFC. But no company yet uses Passbook, and Apple calls it amazing. Wouldn't it be better to implement a tech that is widely available in other countries, has great potential, and try to grow that market instead of using an Apple specific tech?

nohone said,
The thing is, the Apple fans have been saying that NFC is unproven and not needed because nobody uses NFC. But no company yet uses Passbook, and Apple calls it amazing. Wouldn't it be better to implement a tech that is widely available in other countries, has great potential, and try to grow that market instead of using an Apple specific tech?

Not like Apple to take the path no-one else has

nohone said,
The thing is, the Apple fans have been saying that NFC is unproven and not needed because nobody uses NFC. But no company yet uses Passbook, and Apple calls it amazing. Wouldn't it be better to implement a tech that is widely available in other countries, has great potential, and try to grow that market instead of using an Apple specific tech?

It seems to me that Apple isn't interested in "growing a market", unless that's only a side effect of them taking advantage of a technology that provides a clear advantage from day one (HiDPi displays would be an example of that), or it is possible for them to provide a compelling solution that solves real problems with existing approaches today. QR-codes work well right NOW. As for the future, I'm sure Apple is going to enter the NFC market at some point.

nohone said,
The thing is, the Apple fans have been saying that NFC is unproven and not needed because nobody uses NFC. But no company yet uses Passbook, and Apple calls it amazing. Wouldn't it be better to implement a tech that is widely available in other countries, has great potential, and try to grow that market instead of using an Apple specific tech?

I agree NFC usage is getting larger, in the UK Boots (pharmacy and food store) and McDonalds have already rolled it out. Many smaller shops have had their credit card POS systems updated with contactless from barclays and lloyds. Apple could have worked to make NFC futher mainstream with shops, public transport and vending machines, also a lot of the public transport in london uses nfc via oyster cards.

NFC would also allow apple to share information such as pictures, contacts, maps, web links, music lists etc.. between iPhones without the need for WiFi or bluetooth, which both have to remain on, which if like me i have them switched off to save battery it's a pain.

REM2000 said,

I agree NFC usage is getting larger, in the UK Boots (pharmacy and food store) and McDonalds have already rolled it out. Many smaller shops have had their credit card POS systems updated with contactless from barclays and lloyds. Apple could have worked to make NFC futher mainstream with shops, public transport and vending machines, also a lot of the public transport in london uses nfc via oyster cards.

NFC would also allow apple to share information such as pictures, contacts, maps, web links, music lists etc.. between iPhones without the need for WiFi or bluetooth, which both have to remain on, which if like me i have them switched off to save battery it's a pain.

Pictures and contacts is a bit of a moot point since you can do that via text message. Maps would be interesting though I think they will work on the map app before doing anything related to sharing. The maps app, and passbook for that matter, is still a separate app from the rest of the OS. All of the matured apps in iOS have ways to move whatever it is you are working with around. Pictures/Videos is a perfect example of that. Send as text message, email, facebook, twitter, photostream. Hopefully maps and the music player will go that route in the future.

Utterly retarded that they wouldn't implement NFC. Apple could have really helped the NFC technology along with a cheap decision.

Watch, next year we'll see the iPhone 5n, with nothing but NFC added.

. When the coffee company started the digital service back in 2011 it said it preferred to use optical readers with barcodes instead of NFC, because there aren't enough NFC-equipped phones.

Chicken. Egg.

Whatever. I'll be helping the cause by picking up an NFC enabled phone in November.

Mordkanin said,
Utterly retarded that they wouldn't implement NFC. Apple could have really helped the NFC technology along with a cheap decision.

Watch, next year we'll see the iPhone 5n, with nothing but NFC added.

Chicken. Egg.

Whatever. I'll be helping the cause by picking up an NFC enabled phone in November.

What annoys me more is the whole "passbook" is proprietary. NO ONE else can use it. Only people with iDevices. So if you have Windows, android, WebOS, Bada, Symbian or an NFC capable raspberry Pi you are f****... if it was the other way around and they used NFC then everyone would be fine. Except for apple until they implement NFC.

Optical readers are so outdated and inconvenient esp with bar codes... really? why have to choose which pass to open from PBook? A digital NFC selects the right store/transaction automatically.

Auzeras said,

What annoys me more is the whole "passbook" is proprietary. NO ONE else can use it. Only people with iDevices. So if you have Windows, android, WebOS, Bada, Symbian or an NFC capable raspberry Pi you are f****... if it was the other way around and they used NFC then everyone would be fine. .


I'm not sure I follow you. Passbook is basically just the app that "presents" the bar code, right? What's the difference whether Passbook utilizes NFC or optical barcodes. Both technologies are available to other phones and OSs.

CJEric said,

I'm not sure I follow you. Passbook is basically just the app that "presents" the bar code, right? What's the difference whether Passbook utilizes NFC or optical barcodes. Both technologies are available to other phones and OSs.

Passbook will be strictly Apple. Whereas NFC would have created one unified system that all phones could use.

Tony. said,

Passbook will be strictly Apple. Whereas NFC would have created one unified system that all phones could use.

Yep, because Microsoft and Apple have no patent agreements....

Tony. said,

Passbook will be strictly Apple. Whereas NFC would have created one unified system that all phones could use.


You mean like the unified charger dream that all the other manufacturers except apple have just about picked up on?