The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a series of Apple-granted patents today related to iTravel that reek of Passbook and Near Field Communications.

According to Patently Apple, the “boarding pass and express check-in” feature spotlighted in iOS 6’s Passbook app, which Senior Vice President of iPhone Software Scott Forstall previously announced, is covered in today’s iTravel patent. Apple also received coverage for NFC tech, that we think has a pretty good shot of going into the next iPhone, within iTravel that concerns the check-in process and, more specifically, factors for transportation providers to perform identification and ticketing checks.

Patently Apple explained:

  • Apple’s iTravel check-in system will work with Macs, but more importantly, with iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Ticketing and identification information will be stored on the iOS device and transmitted, such as via near field communication, to another electronic device. The handheld device may be used to check into flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, trains, buses, and so forth.
  • Additionally, traveler identification information may be transmitted electronically to enable faster security verification during check-in. The traveler identification information may enable automatic lookup of the traveler in a security database, thereby reducing the inconveniences of incorrect identification. Travelers may also provide specialized identification, such as fingerprints or retinal scans, in order to provide heightened security on high-risk modes of transportation.

The patents’ description indicates iTravel also serves as a “travel management application,” because ticketing and reservation data is enterable through several means. It is able to download reservations from an email, website, or another device, and it can crop images from travel documents with built-in software, such as optical character recognition, barcode-reading, or QR-code-reading. Identification is also manageable, as passports and driver’s licenses are scanned by way of a “radio frequency identification tag embedded in the I.D.,” Patently Apple described. Users can also enter their I.D. number into the app.

The iTravel patent originally filed in 2008, but only published today, and Gloria Lin and Amir Mikhak are noted as the inventors.

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