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Briefly: Passbook enabled gift cards now featured in Apple Store app

Gift card selection (left) and mailing options (right). | Source: Apple

Apple on Saturday added a banner to the front page of the Apple Store app which allows customers to buy and send Passbook-ready digital cards via email to family and friends.

The company first announced it would be rolling out Passbook-capable gift cards when the Apple Store app was updated earlier this week, though the digital coupons were difficult to find and did not appear in store-wide searches.

Customers eager to use the service can navigate to a featured gift card banner at the bottom of Apple Store app's homepage. From there, users can select digital certificates for brick-and-mortar Apple Stores, which can be delivered to a physical or email address. iTunes cards are also available, however they can only be delivered by mail.

As of this writing, the color choices are limited to blue, silver and pink, and the value must be within $25 to $2000.

Once delivered, the recipient can either print the email out to take to a store, use it to shop online, or download the card to the iOS Passbook app for storage as a QR code. As seen below, the message comes with an "Add to Passbook" button which, when pressed, directs iOS to Apple's servers where a unique code is generated and sent to Passbook.

Gift Card
Recipient email (left) and corresponding Passbook pass (right).

During the process, Apple allows Passbook to tag the generated Passbook pass with a zip code for use with the geo-fencing feature built into iOS. The system asks if the user would like their iPhone or iPad to open Passbook and display the gift card upon waking near an Apple Store.

Gift Card Geo-Fencing

The digital gift cards can also be purchased through the Online Apple Store for mail and email delivery.