Apple unveiled iOS 15 today, which features many upgrades including several impacting travel. New partnerships with Disney, Hyatt, and TSA promise to make the travel experience easier through an upgrade to Apple’s popular Wallet app.
Apple iOS 15 Travel Upgrades
Virtual Hyatt Room Key
Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s Vice President of Wallet and Apple Pay, shared that Apple is working with Chicago-based Hyatt to create seamless virtual room keys. By fall, Apple hopes that these keys will be available at “over 1,000 properties worldwide.”
While Hyatt already has virtual room keys available in its World of Hyatt app at select properties, Apple hinted that the entire process could be as easy as one tap, using stored credit card information to create a virtual room key the moment your room is ready (saving a multi-step check-in process). Just tap to check-in and you are good to go forgoing the front desk. An Apple-Hyatt partnership is interesting though I am sure other chains will be added soon as well.
Virtual Driver’s Licenses – Partnership With TSA
Apple also announced it is creating functionality in the Wallet app so you can scan your driver’s license or other state-issued ID and create a virtual identity card. This will only be available in “participating” U.S. states as not every state currently supports such technology.
Bailey also added Apple is working with TSA “to enable airport security checkpoints as the first place you can use your digital ID.”
Cards will be encrypted and securely stored in the Apple Wallet like transit cards and credit cards.
Virtual Disney Passes
Recently, Apple unveiled a virtual Disney pass, which allows touch-free access on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
Disney’s MagicMobile Pass allows the following features:
- Enter theme parks (assuming you have a valid ticket or pass)
- Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your Disney account
- Gain access to the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
In the near future, Disney will also allow guests at its hotels to review and settle folios on the app.
Apple has made privacy a focus for the company and its customers. One of the most significant advances that each of these iOS software enhancements makes is those iPhone users are safer from real-world threats and inconveniences. For example, losing a physical wallet will allow those who find it (nefariously or otherwise) to view highly confiential details on identification cards, swipe a credit card for their purchases, and of course, adopt your cash as their own.
However, Apple’s focus on privacy keeps this data encrypted. Apple was asked by the FBI to unlock an encrypted iPhone in connection with a criminal case and wouldn’t comply (and couldn’t be compelled to do so.) Apple is said to have moved to encryption that they could not decode to remove the company from further entanglements.
In the context of these additional pieces of information, dropping a Hyatt hotel key in the lobby won’t mean an unwelcome visitor, nor would the same amount of information be compromised with your physical identification cards. The updates in this operating system ensure iPhone users won’t be at risk even if it is the phone itself that is lost or stolen because of those privacy and security measures. In fact, if the phone is considered permanently gone, the phone’s nightly backup will simply require a replacement phone and a backup installation to restore all of those critical details.
These travel updates to iOS weren’t the only welcome features to travelers. A redesigned weather app will help travelers make better decisions for when to go sightseeing and when to spend a night with room service and a good movie.
Travelers can stay connected to home even while away with a new feature for facetime calls. Apple introduced “share play” which will allow users on video calls to watch movies together at the same time or listen to apple music and share playlists. They can utilize Air Pods spatial audio features and talk over the movie or music (bad form) or switch to text only (as it should be.)
The software update adds some new features to the photos app including a new portrait mode for the front-facing camera – iPhone remains the most used travel camera in the world.
Developers can try all these new features out today, the public Beta will go live in about a month through the app store.
Apple promises to make travel easier through its new travel features including virtual Hyatt room keys, driver’s licenses, and Disney passes.
You can view today’s entire Worldwide Developers Conference here.