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Apple’s next big innovation? Bringing passports into the 21st Century

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Harvey Day
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Apple’s next big innovation? Bringing passports into the 21st Century

A recently-found patent application shows what Apple has in store for the future of international travel 

We already use ‘em for cashless payments, FaceTiming to our hearts’ content and streaming every single song known to man but Apple is hoping to add another feather to its iPhone cap: passports.

According to a patent application filed earlier this year, the California tech giant is laying the groundwork for iPhones to serve as ‘proof of identity’ devices at some point in the future.

The patent says devices will be used to verify the owner’s identity and their country of origin.

“In one embodiment, a computing device includes a short-range radio and a secure element. The computing device reads via the short-range radio, a portion of the credential information stored in a circuit embedded in an identification document issued by an authority to a user for establishing an identity of the user,” the very technically-worded patent says.

Apple’s next big innovation? Bringing passports into the 21st Century 1

Could long, boring airport queues be a thing of the past? 

While this would certainly be handy, we can already foresee problems around data protection and potential identity theft.

Tech site AppleInsider discussed some of these issues, including the fact that major changes would have to be made to border control points all around the world, which could potentially mean airports installing new and expensive tech. Is Apple going to foot the bill? Probably not.

And what happens when your phone inevitably runs out of power? Does it mean you’re just going to miss your flight? 

Still plenty for those Apple techies to be working on, then. 

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(Images: Getty)

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Harvey Day

Digital writer for Shortlist.com / @harveyday94 / harvey.day@shortlist.com

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