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Summary:

From iOS developer Kudit, the service will let anyone easily participate in iOS Passbook, a feature coming in the next version of the software. In the future, PassSource will also offer an analytics dashboard for pass creators to track how their passes are being used.

Passbook in iOS 6

One of my favorite announced features of iOS 6 is Passbook, an Apple-created app that lets users keep any digital rewards cards, tickets or boarding passes in a central location on their iPhone. When introduced at WWDC in June, the main examples were a United boarding pass and Starbucks and Target rewards cards. But a new service called PassSource from iOS developer Kudit will let anyone, not just large, established corporations, easily participate in Passbook.


PassSource uses an API that lets developers build their own passes for Passbook or make sure the ones they have created are compatible with Passbook. The service has a number of templates, which you can see at left, including generic boarding passes, event tickets and coupons that can be customized, but there are also dozens of pre-made passes from recognizable brands available.

PassSource is for developers only right now, since Passbook is still only available to iOS certified developers until the public release, which will likely be sometime next month. But once it goes live, PassSource will help anyone create passes for Passbook for $25. Kudit says eventually it will introduce an analytics dashboard too that will let pass creators see how they are being used by customers.

  1. Thanks for the article Erica and sharing the link. I have given passsource and it’s a good way to get passes to play with but it’s a little unwiedly to create many passes and manage distribution for my business.

    I have recently found and been using PassKit. At the moment I don’t have full access to their Pass Creator tool, as they say they are making some enhancements after iOS6 Beta 4 release, but they have a bunch of samples that are very easy to use. And importantly there is a barcode generator that I am using to ensure that Passbook works with my point of sale. The good thing is you don’t need iOS6 for the barcode generator so you can get started now.

    PassK.it say they are releasing the web based creator tool in the next few days so I’ll report back then when I’ve starting using that tool. Hope that helps.

    To go get some sample passes now, and start pushing update to lock screens (which has inspired many ideas for my business already) visit http://Passk.it/samples on an iOS6 device and download the Starbucks Pass. You’ll then have access to the PassKit API.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the link Erica. I watched the iPhone 5 announcement and love the look of the Passbook app. I can’t wait to shift all the stuff out of my wallet… haha as the iPhone gets 18% thinner I want my wallet to do the same.

    One thing that concerns me though with all the different pre-made passes from recognizable brands is there’s the opportunity for someone to make a Pass and suggest that this is an ‘official’ pass from that brand.

    How does Apple and their Pass Kit API stop people simply creating a Pass using a passsource template and then using it in a store when that pass wasn’t actually issued by the merchant?

    For example if I use one of passsource’s Target Gift Card does that mean Target has authorised Kudit to produce that card on their behalf? For that matter, has Starbucks? I am surprised that Starbuck’s aren’t issuing Passes themselves as I read the guy who designed the Starbucks app went across to Apple to help design Passbook.

    Aren’t their legal implications for another company ‘issuing’ something on behalf of a brand? Does Kudit therefore take responsibility for fraud with these cards?

    I’d be very interested to hear your and others take on this. Of course there’s always been the chance to knock off a ‘paper coupon’ but won’t Apple want some control here – given how they seem to love to control/approve iOS apps.

    As much as I love to trust people I am sure some people will use these templates to create their own Pass and make out it’s the official thing. Will a sales clerk know the difference? hmmm… Surely noone would do that, right? ;-o

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  3. @Simon
    Actually Apple has “some” control here. Each pass must be digitally signed by a certificate issued by the Apple Corp. To obtain such certificate on must subscribe to Apple Developer Program. Each subscriber must be approved (and verified) by Apple, it is not just paying $99 online. When applying we had to furnish corporate certificate and also I got a phone call from them and answered numerous questions.

    So, anybody, who owns a pass certificate has an agreement with Apple and passed their due diligence process.

    Now goes another important measure: Apple explicitly prohibits from using the certificate to digitally sign third party passes.

    So, any online service that allows you create and issue coupons, tickets, membership card for Apple passbook without asking for a certificate breaks the agreement and is at risk of loosing their Apple Developer status. As a result, the certificate may be revoked and all you passes to be purged from customers iPhones at the moment they need to be re-validated.

    As a developer and founder of a company that stands behind PassGate.com, the mobile marketing platform capable of managing Apple passbook passes, I really dislike consequences of Apple policy, which effectively prohibits many small businesses to issue their own passes. But as a customer I am glad to know that any digital pass I have in my Passbook is created by verifiable company, rather than some anonymous internet user.

    Hope this helps,
    Alex

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