Forbes and others are reporting that Apple has applied for a patent for “a wireless system that would allow customers to place an order at a store using a wireless device such as a media player, a wireless personal digital assistant or a cellphone. The system could go far beyond the program that Apple announced with Starbucks in September, which allows iPhone users to press a button and wirelessly download the song playing in the background as they sip their soy lattes.” (I couldn’t find the patent application on the USPTO website, but I did find at least one prior art opposition.) I’ll let commenters argue whether this will improve the Starbucks experience or be as relaxing as commercial air flights after mobile phone calls are allowed.
Does Apple’s proposal seem familiar? During Boom 1.0, it seemed like almost every wireless demo I witnessed used Starbucks as its example. I remember one mobile marketing company’s pitch: “Let’s say you’re walking past a Starbucks. Your Handspring Visor (or Palm VII or whatever was the wireless device of the moment) would receive a message saying to come into Starbucks and get $1 off a latte.” Maybe this Apple news means that something like this will finally happen. Or does it mean that it takes a decade for fake demos to turn into actual services? Have you seen any fake demos for products we should look for in 2017?