Apple's New NFC Travel Patent Looks a Whole Lot Like PassbookS

We've already seen Passbook, Apple's new mobile wallet solution that pulls all of your loyalty cards and tickets into one spot. It will debut in iOS 6, and now the company has earned a new patent for NFC travel check-ins, which is essentially the travel portion of what we know exists.

The filing describes a hypothetical app called iTravel, which saves all your reservations in one spot and loads them up automatically when you board a plane, rent a car, check in at a hotel, or whatever. It also has provisions for airport security—it could grab all your identification info like your passport, your ID, and your fingerprints, and help you pass through TSA checkpoints more quickly. The only thing is, taking into account what we know about Passbook, the two aren't really that different. That indicates that Apple might join (if it hasn't already) the two together. And even if we don't ever see iTravel come to fruition, Apple owns the tech to either prevent others from using it or profit if they do. [USPTO via Engadget]