Apple revealed a new product called, “Passbook” at WWDC.Steve Kovach details it and its potential here. In short, Passbook could end up being Apple’s “iWallet.” It could be a way for Apple to move into the crowded, and confusing mobile payment space.
Google has a similar product with Google Wallet. However, unlike Google, Apple didn’t come out and over promise and under deliver with Passbook.
Apple just announced what Passbook is, and how it could potentially work. If Starbucks, Target, or American Airlines use it, great. If not, Apple doesn’t look too silly. (It will look silly, just not too silly.)
Compare that to Google. When it launched Google Wallet it made a big deal out of all it would do. A year after the launch, Google Wallet is pretty much dead. The people that worked on it have moved on.
It flopped because it was only on two phones, and carriers didn’t want to support Google Wallet. Apple is smart to wait and see what the carriers are willing to do.
This is one crucial difference between Apple and Google.
Google is all about announcing awesome features and then failing to deliver. Look at how long it took to release a real music player for Android. Look at Google Wallet. More recently, look at its super lame 3D Maps announcement.
Apple is all about announcing features and then shipping them. (Apple has had flops like Ping and MobileMe. But at least those things shipped. And at least Apple delivered something usable on time.)
Apple set the bar low for Passbook. If it ends up being huge, it won’t be a surprise. If it ends up being a flop, well, Apple didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it.