Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has obtained a patent for an application called iTravel that can check a user in at airports, handle baggage claims, place reservations, and share trip details on social networks. The application has been designed to work with Mac computers as well as Apple’s various mobile devices.
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Although Apple has not announced iTravel, its new Passbook for iOS application incorporates some of the functions. While the Passbook app is mainly designed to let users store loyalty and gift cards, it also has the capability of saving boarding passes and tickets.
iTravel uses near-field communication, which is rumored to be one of the functions of the next-generation iPhone. The technology would be able to securely transfer traveler identification information. Travelers may even be able to provide specialized identification, such as fingerprints or retinal scans, in order to provide increased security. Passports and driver’s licenses may also be loaded onto the app. According to the patent application, travel information may be managed by a travel management application that would also be able to retrieve data from emails, external websites, other electronic devices, or via a carrier-provided confirmation number.
While it is not clear when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may venture into the travel sphere, even if it does, the patent is a signal that the company may be looking to add much more functionality to its mobile devices in the future.