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Thursday, December 20, 2012, 10:08 am PT (01:08 pm ET)

American Airlines, Sephora excited by initial uptake of Apple's Passbook

The launch of Apple's Passbook with iOS 6 has the exceeded expectations of companies like American Airlines and Sephora, who say they have seen quicker-than-expected growth for the new platform.

Early adopters of Passbook spoke with Wired for a story published on Thursday, revealing that they have been impressed with how quickly end users have embraced it. The iPhone-exclusive feature found in iOS 6 allows users to collect store cards, coupons, tickets and other paper items digitally on their smartphone.

"We were amazed at the high uptake," said Phil Easter, director of mobile apps at American Airlines. "Apple has allowed an app developer like us to put features right in front of the user where before that space was off limits."

Easter's comments are in reference to the fact that Passbook, which integrates with App Store software, allows developers to push content to the iPhone's lock screen. In the case of American Airlines, boarding passes are displayed and can be scanned without the need to launch an application.

American Airlines has 1.5 million active Passbook users, and the airline says it serves about 20,000 passes to iPhone users every day.

Passbook


American Airlines is joined by other carriers including Delta, United and Virgin in supporting Passbook. AppleInsider was first to report last month that British Airways is also planning to add support.

Cosmetics retailer Sephora has also seen benefits from the first few months of Passbook. The company saw 38,000 more downloads than usual of its application the day Passbook launched, with 10,000 "Beauty Insider" rewards cards added that same day.

Sephora, which leo uses Passbook for git cards, says that it now has 375,000 customers with their rewards cards linked to Passbook.

Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora, told Wired that her company particularly appreciates the "seamless" gift card functionality that Passbook supports.

"You can send a gift card to a friend, they accept it, hit a link to add their Passbook, and then they have their gift card right there," she said.

While airlines and companies like Sephora are using Passbook for more traditional means, in recent weeks some companies have adopted more unconventional ways of integrating support for the iOS 6 feature. For example, Re/Max real estate agents can share business cards with clients, while Discover has added support for cardholder rewards to Passbook.

Other early adopters of Passbook include Amtrak, Starbucks, Target, Live Nation, Fandango, Walgreens, and Major League Baseball. It's even been used by a ticketing company to offer passes to the Columbus Zoo.