In the two weeks that the Passbook program was in place at four Major League ballparks, Passbook accounted for 12% of sales of single game tickets purchased online, around 1,500 in total. Those numbers seem pretty darn impressive, the parks are not minor ones, and that’s a decent chunk of ticketing. But they get even more impressive when you think about the breakdown.
That 12% is only two weeks, only counts online purchasers who chose to deliver to mobile users, who were iPhone owners, and those that updated to iOS 6 (which was only available on the 19th of last month) within that period could take advantage of Passbook. I think its very safe to say that percentage is going to get a lot higher next season, when the MLB rolls out Passbook support to many more parks.
Honestly, beyond the initial confusion surrounding Passbook, it has emerged as an iOS feature of extreme utility for me.
The release of the latest iteration of the Starbucks app — now Passbook-enabled — truly drove the potential of the functionality home for me. Now, when I get out of my car near my local Starbucks, my iPhone already has my gold card waiting for me to pay. Similarly, the week prior, my TicketMaster tickets appeared magically on my homescreen as I arrived at a concert downtown.
Although the use-case for Passbook may be somewhat limited at the moment, my experiences with it so far have been extremely encouraging. I was initially skeptical, but I can now certainly see its value.
For me, in usage, Passbook feels utterly futuristic, much as Siri did when it arrived. There may be plenty of persistent negativity swirling around both of them today, but I tend to regard them both with a deep-seated sense of appreciation.
In a world increasingly permeated by connected devices, the trend toward an intelligent and geographically-aware personal assistant seems to be edging ever-closer toward fruition. Perhaps Siri and Passbook are both still riddled with various issues, but both are unquestionably indicative of a future in which our phones are capable of doing much of our mundane software legwork on our behalf.
So, as much as we each have a keen propensity to whine about various issues with both of these features, I would suggest keeping precisely that trajectory in mind before you next decry the slowness or developmental-nascence of either.