iPhone 5 rumors: new Apple patent hints at NFC

According to Patently Apple, the patent application describes a near-field communication service called “iTravel.”

iTravel is described in the patent abstract as “a method and system for transportation check-in (e.g.:, ticketing and identification) via near field communication (NFC) using a handheld electronic device, such as a cellular phone or a personal media player”.

Using NFC for check-in, “the handheld device may store and transmit travel reservations and traveler identifications using a travel management application. Various methods may be employed to acquire the reservation and identification information on the handheld device.”

Various sites, such as ZDNet, speculate that Apple could be planning to expand on its new iOS 6 Passbook app.

Examples listed in the filing include using the app to make reservations or pull them up from a site or another NFC-enabled device. Also, you can have your driver’s license or passport scanned into the app.