Apple’s secret plan to join iPhones with airport security

“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?” Thom Patterson reports for CNN. “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.”

“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,” Patterson reports. “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.

Patterson reports, “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? … The 2008 patent application was approved in July and filed under the working title ‘iTravel.’ AppleInsider‘s Neil Hughes suspects the iTravel concept will be folded into Apple’s Passbook app, which will be available for download on Wednesday.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. What about the technology to block the phones camera and voice recording features while at security checkppoints? That’s what I initially thought this article would be about.

    I’m a lot less likely to be in an airport without any money or wallet than I am to be pestered by some goon. Not being able to record the goon encounter is a bad thing.

    1. Nope.

      You can pretty much bet that those people are never going to go away… in our lifetimes or our children’s. What was the time frame given for fighting the War Terror when that started?

      About a hundred years or so?

          1. Well current insurance premiums are based on risk assessments with all that TSA infrastructure (hardware, screeners/scanners, special attention lanes, practices, procedures etc that constitute the system) factored in.

            Start removing any element of that infrastructure and insurance premiums will rise astronomically.

    2. Boycott the airlines – don’t fly!

      When they are hurting enough and know that it is because of the TSA, they will (thru their paid shills in Washington) tell Uncle Sam to do away with the TSA, or at least the worst, most intrusive and pointless parts of it.

  2. The proper term is not ‘airport security’ but rather ‘airport insecurity’. The US’ knee jerk response to perceived threats from ‘terrorists’ who carry toothpaste without plastic baggies just makes us all feel abused and insecure. I doubt there will be much difference for the next few years unless the Gestapo like security is made more effective and more humane by adopting the Israeli style conversational screening style.

    1. Nope. That’s not going to happen, either. The Israeli technique is basically “profiling”.

      Because, as everyone “knows”, profiling is wrong and a violation of our civil rights.

      1. Everything is profiling. The El Al method is not racial or gender profiling, but psychological profiling. It’s an amazing technique similar to the replicant test in Blade Runner. There is much more to it than, “Qui a fait les bagage?”

        1. I’m quite aware of what the Israeli technique is.

          My comment just addresses the fact that certain segments of the U.S. population and pseudo “civil libertarians” will get up in arms over anything that smacks of “profiling”. They define the word in an all inclusive negative light. In their minds, adjectives like racial, gender, and psychological are meaningless distinctions.

          I don’t doubt they would consider “psychological” profiling to be even worse that the other types.

  3. This is what I’ve been talking about for quite some time as to why NFC will never catch on more than it has — it’s not needed. Apple doesn’t want to add another chip to its devices; that takes up space and draws more power. Plus, it’s just not necessary or as secure as the user having a password to open Passbook and have whatever account is needed immediately available for scanning by a bar scanner (which most places have already).

    Apple isn’t going to do NFC, it’s going to leapfrog it.

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