Apple files for patent for ‘location-based ticket books’

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190037342) for “location-based ticket books.” It would allow iPhones, iPads, and perhaps even Apple Watches to alert you of tickets available for events in your location. 

According to the patent summary, Apple wants its mobile devices to be able to be programmed to provide a ticket book service. A person can use the to buy a ticket, accept a coupon, or add a gift card from a service provider (e.g., an airline, a movie chain, a coupon-issuing shop, or a restaurant). 

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In response, the service provider can issue a virtual ticket by sending an electronic message (e.g., an electronic mail message) to the mobile device. The mobile device can prompt the person to add the virtual ticket included in the electronic message to a ticket book. The ticket book can store a user's various virtual tickets, e.g., boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, on the mobile device.

When the person arrives at a place where the virtual ticket can be used, e.g., a flight gate, a movie theater entrance, or a shop, the person can launch an app that manages the ticket book service. The mobile device can display all virtual tickets stored in the ticket book for selection. 

The user can select a relevant ticket. The application program can display the user-selected ticket on the mobile device, for inspection by a ticket reader machine or a person. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A mobile device can present a virtual ticket to a service provider based on a location of the mobile device. The mobile device can receive a virtual ticket for accessing a service from a service provider. The virtual ticket can be associated with a signal source. The signal source can be pre-programmed to broadcast a beacon signal that includes an identifier identifying the signal source. 

“The signal source can be placed at a venue where the service is available. The mobile device, upon arriving at the venue, can detect the beacon signal from the signal source. In response, the mobile device can activate a ticket manager. The ticket manager can automatically select, from a ticket book, the virtual ticket associated with the signal source. The mobile device can present content of the selected virtual ticket at the venue where the service is available.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.