Apple wins a patent for iTravel – the NFC enabled app to manage your check-ins and reservations

Travel apps like Trip-it have been helping people on the road for years. As were various airline apps, simplifying your reservations and check-ins.

Now Apple wants to get into a travel management game too. And they just received a patent for an iTravel reservations and check-in app, which uses NFC to ease your problems on the road.

The main focus of the patent is how you would use your next iPhone with NFC chip at the airport check-in. It includes loading your ID info such as picture, retinal scan and fingerprint data from modern passports with embedded radio frequency identification tags. Collecting your ticket information from reservation confirmation e-mails/notifications, or extracting reservation images via optical character recognition software, barcode-reading software, or QR-code-reading software. Providing the necessary information at the NFC equipped check-in counter, and receiving the boarding pass with luggage info in exchange. Using the stored ID to pass through airport security, etc;

Overall, Apple’s iTravel patent seems to cover a lot of stuff travel apps already do today, improved a bit by NFC functionality. And this is an issued patent – not an application which may be granted, changed or refused by USPTO. So it may really screw things up for a lot of travel app makers on Android, iOS and other platforms, if Apple decides to enforce the patent in the future.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • Walt French

    Up to a point, I get “novel” (as you say, many of these features are in existing travel apps but not the retinal scan or other deep ID info) but “non-obvious” escapes me.

    This sounds like a defensive patent. Dunno how they’d enforce it, given the increasing hostility to minor patents.