Home > Government, World of the Strange – Weird Science > Apple’s secret plan to join iPhones with airport security.

Apple’s secret plan to join iPhones with airport security.

By Thom Patterson  September 19th 2012.

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Apple's vision for its app, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, shows an icon in the screen's lower right labled "iTravel."<br/><br/>Apple is releasing a mobile wallet app called Passbook which could lead to some of the ideas suggested in these iTravel patent schematics, which were submitted in 2008. The patent was granted last July.<br/><br/>"Empty pocket" travel apps would eliminate the need to carry credit cards, airline tickets, boarding passes, baggage claim stubs, car or hotel reservations, or even personal identification. Click through the gallery to see more.

Apple’s vision for its app, according to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, shows an icon in the screen’s lower right labled “iTravel.”

Apple is releasing a mobile wallet app called Passbook which could lead to some of the ideas suggested in these iTravel patent schematics, which were submitted in 2008. The patent was granted last July.

“Empty pocket” travel apps would eliminate the need to carry credit cards, airline tickets, boarding passes, baggage claim stubs, car or hotel reservations, or even personal identification. Click through the gallery to see more.

What if you found yourself stuck alone at a faraway airport — with no money, credit cards or ID? How easily could you fly back home again?

You might survive if you had a smartphone. Emerging “empty pockets” technology is increasingly allowing travelers to use their phones to make purchases, book flights, check in and board planes.

Wallets? They’re so 2008.

Delta, American and United are already big into electronic boarding passes on smartphones, and stragglers like JetBlue are planning e-boarding programs in the near future.

What’s next? If some visionaries have their way, the future of mobile travel will touch virtually every key activity at the airport — including security and U.S. passports. Smartphone technology might improve airport efficiency and help ease the pain from skyrocketing traffic predicted in the next 20 years.

But is a post-9/11 world comfortable with the idea of merging personal cell phones into the airport security network?

Apple — still basking in the afterglow of last week’s iPhone 5 curtain raiser — is also unveiling Passbook, an app which organizes e-boarding passes, flight reservations, coupons and other documents.

But Apple has a much more grandiose plan for its empty pocket dreams, according to public U.S. Patent and Trademark Office documents. Read the patent document (PDF).

For example, imagine checking bags with your cell phone — or passing through security by flashing an official driver’s license or U.S. passport displayed on your phone.

Outside the airport, envision using just your phone to rent a car or to check into a hotel. How about using your phone as an electronic hotel room key?

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