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Briefly: Passbook enabled gift cards now featured in Apple Store app

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Apple on Saturday added a banner to the front page of the Apple Store app which allows customers to buy and send Passbook-ready digital cards via email to family and friends.

Gift Card Purchase
Gift card selection (left) and mailing options (right). | Source: Apple


The company first announced it would be rolling out Passbook-capable gift cards when the Apple Store app was updated earlier this week, though the digital coupons were difficult to find and did not appear in store-wide searches.

Customers eager to use the service can navigate to a featured gift card banner at the bottom of Apple Store app's homepage. From there, users can select digital certificates for brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, which can be delivered to a physical or email address. iTunes cards are also available, however they can only be delivered by mail.

As of this writing, the color choices are limited to blue, silver and pink, and the value must be within $25 to $2000.

Once delivered, the recipient can either print the email out to take to a store, use it to shop online, or download the card to the iOS Passbook app for storage as a QR code. As seen below, the message comes with an "Add to Passbook" button which, when pressed, directs iOS to Apple's servers where a unique code is generated and sent to Passbook.

Gift Card
Recipient email (left) and corresponding Passbook pass (right).


During the process, Apple allows Passbook to tag the generated Passbook pass with a zip code for use with the geo-fencing feature built into iOS. The system asks if the user would like their iPhone or iPad to open Passbook and display the gift card upon waking near an Apple Store.

Gift Card Geo-Fencing


The digital gift cards can also be purchased through the Online Apple Store for mail and email delivery.
post #2 of 21
I know this will make more than a few people happy. Personally I think geofencing is a bit over the top; if you receive a gift you'll be thinking of what to buy and plan on getting to the store to try out a headphone or laptop. But getting an alert while driving by is a bit too much, for me.

The QR code has been nicely altered! Good job AI. I would've thumbed-up the article, but can't on an iPad.
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post #3 of 21

Well considering I had to buy one just to show you all, I took the liberty of obscuring it artsy-like. 1smile.gif

post #4 of 21
In that case: keep up the great work!
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post #5 of 21
I'm sure you'll be able to reuse that artwork in next week's inevitable story: "Hackers breach new Apple Digital Gift Card system."
post #6 of 21

Does this geofencing mean that I can buy vouchers for my relatives in a different country which they can spend only in their country, or does it mean I can only buy vouchers to be sent in the country where I live so I cannot send any to my relatives back home, in the same way as iTunes does?

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

Does this geofencing mean that I can buy vouchers for my relatives in a different country which they can spend only in their country, or does it mean I can only buy vouchers to be sent in the country where I live so I cannot send any to my relatives back home, in the same way as iTunes does?

Geofencing has nothing to do with that stuff. It's like in reminders when you tag something to remind you when you arrive or leave a place. Basically this has the ability to remind you that you have a gift card you can use if you go into or near an Apple Store. That way you don't pull out your charge card or cash instead

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I know this will make more than a few people happy. Personally I think geofencing is a bit over the top; if you receive a gift you'll be thinking of what to buy and plan on getting to the store to try out a headphone or laptop. But getting an alert while driving by is a bit too much, for me.

The geofence feature is a radius of like 20 ft. With so many stores in malls it is unlikely you'll drive that close to tons of stores.

And it isn't mandatory so just don't use it

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I would've thumbed-up the article, but can't on an iPad.

You need to see if you can get in on the beta version of the mobile forum. It looks and works brilliantly, and includes the ability to use the Thumbs Up option.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikeycampbell81 View Post

Well considering I had to buy one just to show you all, I took the liberty of obscuring it artsy-like. 1smile.gif

Excellent job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The geofence feature is a radius of like 20 ft. With so many stores in malls it is unlikely you'll drive that close to tons of stores.
And it isn't mandatory so just don't use it

For most it's likely not an issue (even though my Apple Store is on a main downtown street I walk and drive nearly everyday), but there is still a fundamental issue with the way geofencing currently works in Passbook.

For instance, I like to go Starbucks in the morning to have a drink and study. I never go in the evening and certainly when they are closed. The issues I have with Passbook are:
  1. It will pop up when I'm just driving by even though I'm not within the geofence for more than 30 seconds as I do.
  2. It will pop up whilst sitting at Starbucks even though I've already used it, or dismissed it.


I propose that:
  1. when a geofence is activated it has to wait x-seconds before checking again to see if you are still within that fence. If so, at that point will it then show you the pass.
  2. after you use a pass it will go silent for x-minutes so that it doesn't annoyingly keep appearing on your phone and using the battery.
  3. if it's passed the store's hours of operation the pass will not be active.


I have others but these are the big three changes I propose.
Edited by SolipsismX - 11/11/12 at 8:31am

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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

You need to see if you can get in on the beta version of the mobile forum. It looks and works brilliantly, and includes the ability to use the Thumbs Up option.

Thanks, TS just added me a few hours ago. Thumbs-up works over there. And it's way better than the current public version, in many respects.
Quote:

I propose that:
  1. when I geofence is activated it has to wait x-seconds before checking again to see if you are still within that fence. If so, at that point will it then show you the pass.
  2. after you use a pass it will go silent for x-minutes so that it doesn't annoyingly keep appearing on your phone and using the battery.
  3. if it's passed the store's hours of operation the pass will not be active.


I have others but these are the big three changes I propose.

Very valid points! That would annoy me as well, were I to use Passbook. I actually never even opened the app, only moved it into a 'AppleZooi' (=AppleCrap) folder.
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post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

The geofence feature is a radius of like 20 ft. With so many stores in malls it is unlikely you'll drive that close to tons of stores.

And it isn't mandatory so just don't use it

At least Apple Maps knows where my Apple Store is (Fashion Island). Google Maps still thinks it is 100m away where it used to be two years ago.

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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

At least Apple Maps knows where my Apple Store is (Fashion Island). Google Maps still thinks it is 100m away where it used to be two years ago.

That would be very embarrassing if even Apple didn't know where its stores are.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #13 of 21

Just US by the looks of it. Which is a shame..

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

At least Apple Maps knows where my Apple Store is (Fashion Island). Google Maps still thinks it is 100m away where it used to be two years ago.

That would be very embarrassing if even Apple didn't know where its stores are.

Apple only recently fixed it. Apple Maps used to have the same incorrect information. I submitted a correction to both Apple and Google. The Google submission I did several months ago but still no update. The Apple submission I sent during the first week after iPhone 5 launch.

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post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Apple only recently fixed it. Apple Maps used to have the same incorrect information. I submitted a correction to both Apple and Google. The Google submission I did several months ago but still no update. The Apple submission I sent during the first week after iPhone 5 launch.

What?! If I had a company that created their owning mapping software and had some retail chain I would make sure that all my locations have been tested and corrected before it went live. All we're talking about is 390 stores plus headquarters. It's not exactly a huge expense or effort to make sure this one thing is perfect.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What?! If I had a company that created their owning mapping software and had some retail chain I would make sure that all my locations have been tested and corrected before it went live. All we're talking about is 390 stores plus headquarters. It's not exactly a huge expense or effort to make sure this one thing is perfect.

I believe only recently have Apple has been able to get their hands around the actual map data. When they they first launched they were just passing through the data from their partners with no validation. Things should only get better as they get more control over the source data. I am still troubled by the notion that they have so many partners to make maps work where as Google has all of their own data and lots of it.

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post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I believe only recently have Apple has been able to get their hands around the actual map data. When they they first launched they were just taking in the data from their partners with no validation. Things should only get better as they get more control over the source data. I am still troubled by the notion that they have so many partners to make maps work where as Google has all of their own data and lots of it.

But Apple Store locations should not have required any outside assistance. After Apple Maps was announced in demoed months ago they should have someone at Apple HQ spend a little time verfiying that the location was correct. You can put in an address and get a decent idea if it's correct for the less than 400 stores. You could then compare to Google Maps or you could even send an email to the store managers as a final verification asking if it's the accurate, it's not a new pin drop will mark the correct lat and longitude. I'm truly amazed that even that aspect of Maps wasn't completed at launch.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

But Apple Store locations should not have required any outside assistance. After Apple Maps was announced in demoed months ago they should have someone at Apple HQ spend a little time verfiying that the location was correct. You can put in an address and get a decent idea if it's correct for the less than 400 stores. You could then compare to Google Maps or you could even send an email to the store managers as a final verification asking if it's the accurate, it's not a new pin drop will mark the correct lat and longitude. I'm truly amazed that even that aspect of Maps wasn't completed at launch.

It is software. You can update it and all sins are forgiven.

 

BTW I would like to proudly announce I actually cut the cord at home. No more cable. I now get my TV from over the air HD antenna and it is awesome, pristine HD, much better than cable. My Internet is coming from my AT&T LTE cellular wifi hotspot from Sierra Wireless device.

 

Just to clarify: I have 100 mbs at the office so if I need something big I just will wait until I go to the office, download it and then copy it to my home network when I get home.


Edited by mstone - 11/11/12 at 5:19pm

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post #19 of 21

2 Months after Passbook is live- 5 months after it is announced- The Apple Store has gift cards available on it?  Why is Passbook so freakin neglected?  It could have changed the landscape.  Instead- it sits there in my unused-undeletable apps folder.

 

The failure of Passbook pisses me off more than anything else "bad" (i use the term loosely- I think they've done a great job this year) Apple has done in the past year.  But Passbook... ugh- it's the potential of greatness and the squandering of it that is the upsetting part.

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post #20 of 21

Now that I have had a chance to play with Passbook and really understand what it has to offer right now, I see why its going so slow. The whole things is based on retailers who are able to scan 2D barcodes (which is what the barcodes on passcards are, be it QR or PDF419 etc.). 90% of all current retailers can NOT read this.  They are using traditional barcodes (UPS, code 39 etc) which is read with a laser scanner. Laser scanners can NOT read barcodes off an LCD screen, only newer optical scanners can. This is because these scanners are basically cameras. In order for Passbook to work, its going to take major upgrades on the retailers side.

post #21 of 21
This looks cool! Passbook appears to be much more powerful than it's been tooted to be. Quite a good thing really.
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