Apple is essentially famous for two things; great products people enjoy using and creating news by filing patents. Apple is probably one of the most prodigious patent filers in all of Silicon Valley. A whole subset of Apple watchers has grown up around trying to discern the viability of the patents granted to Cupertino. Recently PatentlyApple detailed one of the more interesting iPhone-related patents.
Apple exercises near dominance in the digital music space through the iTunes store. It would seem a logical extension of that power position would be e-tickets. The entertainment industry is increasingly moving to electronic means to sell even concert tickets. Imagine how powerful the means to sell concert tickets through iTunes would be. The patent details a system called Concert Ticket +. The user would purchase a ticket to a venue through iTunes on their computer or iPhone. The purchase would download an electronic ticket to the iPhone that contains a bar code. When the user gets to the venue an agent would then scan the bar code off the iPhone and the user admitted. Presumably there would also be a system that invalidates the bar code once it has been used.
Interestingly, as PatentlyApple notes, the patent goes far beyond listing just concert tickets. Sporting events, amusement parks, and even a way of using the system to send wedding invitations to your digitally connected guests are metioned. All of this seems fairly ambitious but much of the infrastructure for such a system is already in place. I recently took my son to a movie. I bought the tickets on my home computer and was sent a PDF with a bar code on it to print. At the theater I presented the print out to an agent who scanned it and granted admission. All that Apple really needs to move into this space is the iPhone app and for venue operators to adopt their system.
What all of this really illustrates is how Apple is poised to move beyond the traditional computer market. While electronics and computer systems will always be the means Apple uses, it really wants to be more ubiquitous than boutique computing. Apple is poised to make a move not only on the consumer computer market but the consumer market. Period. The mobile products they’ve created are intended to not only facilitate traditional computing tasks but the plans Apple obviously has for integrating all aspects of our lives into our digital world. You may like Apple or you may not but you have to admit they are the only company truly attempting to bring convergence to our lives. May be if the people who don’t like how Apple does business tried to go where Apple is going, they’d see Cupertino in a different light.
Is Apple’s move into the ticket selling business part of a larger move into every aspect of our lives? Would you welcome an Apple-designed convergence into your life? Would it be your worst nightmare? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.