A Passbook Full Of Potential

One of maybe the most underhyped (or even overhyped) and hopefully my favourite new feature of Apple’s iOS 6 would have to be Passbook.
Perhaps a not so direct competitor to Google Wallet, in that it doesn’t handle mobile payments (yet), Passbook is yet another app that wants to replace your wallet.

Your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more are now all in one place.

Of course, much like anything that relies on third parties – unfortunately those third parties have to also get on board. I believe that Passbook has the potential to become quite large. Surely I can’t be the only one who hates carrying around physical cards in my wallet, digging around for those loyalty cards hidden in there somewhere. Or, printing out those PDF tickets to that event, because you couldn’t remember where you put them last time you hit print. Passbook wants to help you here.

[Read more…]

Tapping away with NFC

NFC: a word you’ve probably heard before, and something you’ll be hearing a lot more, especially now that Apple has opted not to support it.

So what is NFC? NFC stands for ‘Near Field Communication’ – put simply, NFC is a new wireless technology that enables data transmission between two objects when they are brought within a few inches of each other.

For smartphones, this means they can exchange data with other NFC enabled devices or read information from smart tags embedded in posters, stickers and other products.

Many phones (and other devices) are starting to ship with NFC enabled; most Android phones and Windows 8 tablets are shipping with it.

In fact, you’re probably already using NFC already and you wouldn’t even know. Many public transport systems that use contactless cards are based on NFC.
[Read more…]

Kaching: iCarte brings NFC to the iPhone

Possibly the most touted feature of NFC has been mobile payments. The idea of only having to carry one device – when you go shopping, you only have to pull out your phone, tap it to the terminal, and you’ve just paid for your groceries. Unfortunately the above scenario is only true today for a select few – in the US, Google is making their best efforts to push Google Wallet.

Here in Australia, Commonwealth Bank have made the first move, selling an NFC enabled case, called an iCarte, that allows you to use your iPhone as your ‘wallet’. Or, at least make PayPass payments after you open the Kaching app. So how does it work?

[Read more…]

iOS Carrier Bundles Demystified

One of my favourite things about the iPhone is that it’s fairly painless to throw another SIM card into your iPhone, and have all of your carriers settings just work (internet, MMS, voicemail, and tethering if your carrier allows it). The way this magic works is that Apple actually has the settings for all of the official iPhone carriers preloaded into iOS. If you throw in a SIM from a supported carrier, the settings are simply loaded and away you go. These are referred to as carrier bundles (or, carrier settings according to Apple).

Carrier settings updates are small files (about 10 kb) that are installed on your iPhone or iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular models). Carrier settings include updates to Access Point Names (APNs), MMS settings, features such as tethering, and default apps such as Stocks, Maps, and Weather.

 

On your iOS device, they live at

/var/mobile/Library/Carrier Bundles/ – bundles that have been updated with iTunes, or pushed over the air

/System/Library/Carrier Bundles/ – stock bundles that ship with iOS

On your computer side, they can be found at

~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Carrier Support/

If you haven’t ever had iTunes prompt you about a carrier update, this folder probably won’t exist.

Carrier bundles themselves are simply .zip archives, but with a .ipcc extension instead. They’re named after your carrier, and may also say whether they’re for your iPhone or iPad (Telstra_au_iPhone.ipcc)

[Read more…]