Why Apple’s Passbook App is the Pinnacle of Helpful Content
Many iPhone users who updated to the IOS6 in the past few days were left with similar questions: what is passbook in IOS6? How do I use passbook? What apps are compatible with passbook? Why should I put pants on? And so on.
Full disclosure: I don’t normally avail myself of the business practices within the giant skull-shaped castle that I assume serves as Apple’s headquarters, but reading about the new passbook app (is it an app?) got me thinking about how no matter how large or influential a company is, helping people get through their daily lives is the pinnacle, the ultimate goal, of successful business.
Let’s back the tech-train up a little bit and get the negatives of passbook out of the way first. Passbook has stirred up some rage that’s best summed up in the comments section of CNET’s article: What Is Passbook in IOS6? I’ll admit, since this was the first bit of research I did on Apple’s passbook, I found myself being dragged along with the huff & bother felt by all those INFURIATED commenters. Topics of concern ranged from simple uselessness to questions about the app’s ‘friendliness’ to “Who created this app? Hitler and Stalin’s illegitimate step-child that was germinated inside the Octo-mom?”
Suffice to say, many people’s initial reactions were…anger-based. Which brings us to our first point, indicated by the following subheading.
1) If Helping People is the Pinnacle of Successful Business…
Passbook was designed to help people by eliminating wallets. In the future, no one will understand what a Costanza Wallet is, which is too bad, but who among us doesn’t want a slimmer wallet? Who among us wouldn’t be better off carrying around nothing at all in our pockets?
The thing is, opening up the passbook app for the first time doesn’t really offer anything interesting except for the cool icons representing boarding passes, tickets, store cards and coupons. There’s nothing to fill this passbook with yet, but it’s the idea of passbook that should be appealing to people.
2) …then Education is the Best Tool to Take Us There
So, the vitriol from CNET’s commenters is probably warranted, if only because they didn’t immediately know what the hell passbook was good for. Like an empty wallet, it’s probably good for nothing at this point. As CNET’s Jason Cipriani tells us, there simply aren’t many apps that have passbook incorporated into them yet.
Sometimes when new ideas are presented to the marketplace, people support them based on previous experience with a company. When it comes to passbook, people are swayed by their comfort with Apple products; iPhones, iPads, and guys who were awesome at Oregon Trail on the good ol’ Macintosh computer. (ME. I WAS AWESOME AT OREGON TRAIL.) Passbook is automatically downloaded with the IOS6 upgrade, and you can’t delete it. Perhaps Apple should have included some sort of quick how-to guide that pops up the first time you open passbook?
New products come and go. With the amount of information online, you should be able to find the education and resources you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to buy, download or use said product. I’ve said it before, ideas are nothing without effective support. Isn’t this what the essence of content marketing is?
We Fear Change
New ideas affect iPhone users quite keenly, as was evidenced by the fact that I found myself agreeing with all the negativity in the comments we talked about above. I like my phone’s desktop the way it is now. I know how to use all of my apps, and my life manages
pretty well where are my pants half decent without anything new muddying up the place.
Let’s Get Back to the Ideas: Passbook is a Good Idea, No?
Now, as a freelance content strategist, shouldn’t I maintain an open mind to new ideas? To be honest, I usually do, but it’s 9:30 on a Friday night and I’ve been open-minding all week. I was inspired to write this article though, so that’s a plus, right guys? Guys?
In any case, learning more about the passbook and other progressive ideas is the most important tool toward expanding our influence and developing our content.
It doesn’t stop with helpful technological devices – what about politics?
Upcoming rant warning…
Edmonton, Alberta is mired in a political uproar at the moment because pharmacy magnate Darryl Katz wants to build a new arena for the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers. The political left mostly wants the project to go forward while the policy-making right is questioning its long-term viability. The people of Edmonton (and the NHL) are swayed by various factors, but the crux of the matter, and how the Oilers relate to passbook, is this: what do you want? If you were an Edmontonian, would you think the end result, an arena, a good idea or a bad idea?
Perhaps I’m complicating things with the arena example, but the same basic principle applies to Apple’s passbook – carrying around fewer cards in your pocket would be nice, wouldn’t it? Can anyone deny that?
- How fat is your fat wallet?
- How many
Starbuck’s cardsgym memberships & Blockbuster video cardsbaby panda oil-cleaning volunteer cards do you have?
- If this idea worked perfectly, would you use it?
Apple’s passbook was designed, marketed and released to help people. Apple, for all of its faults (which I intentionally ignore because of how impossible it would be to fully grasp all the details), sought to help people with a new idea that’s probably ahead of its time. Know who else tried to help people with ideas that were way ahead of their time? That’s right, the legend himself: Gene Roddenberry (the inventor of the iPad).
How Does Your Content Help People?
I turn into a crazed psycho just as much as the next guy when new Apple products are released every 25 minutes (Zing!). Wait, no I don’t – I don’t care enough. What I do know is this: Apple creates new products that help people and people consitently BUY them. As long as iPhones and iPads are being snatched up, Apple will keep creating them so that they can continue to pay their employees and line their Cadillacs with endangered cheetah fur.
Apple makes money by selling helpful products, like passbook. Does your company?
I have an iPhone 4 (I think – It doesn’t say what it is on the back). I’m incredibly happy with it, moreso now that I can potentially ditch my Philanthropist’s Gold Club Card for an electronic equivalent in a year or two. Passbook is an extension of the device I’m already comfortable with, an application that should be helpful – just took a little education to figure that out.
Helpful products infused with knowledgable content make money, because they enrich people’s lives. So, what’s my opinion on Apple’s latest idea? Passbook good, cheetah murder bad.
*Apple does not actually murder cheetahs. I think. What do I know? Maybe I should take my own advice and do some research.
Now, can someone recommend an app that lets me use passbook for the first time?
Photo cred: Flickr user @superamit.