Apple Files Patent App To Allow Wireless Ordering At Stores

Apple has applied to patent a wireless ordering system that would allow shoppers to place orders from, for example, their iPhones as they approached, oh, let’s say a Starbucks, bypassing an ordering line altogether and going straight to the pick-up counter. The system would also allow stores to keep data on repeat customers to speed up future transactions.

Customers might tap a button to order their favorite drink, say a double-shot mocha, as they stroll up to the nearest coffee shop. When the drink is ready go to, the device–such as an iPhone–would chime or blink to let the thirsty one know it’s time to scoop up the order at the counter.

The patent puts Apple’s partnership with Starbucks in a new light. The technology promises to morph Apple from the business of simply selling gadgets and music and movies that can be played on those devices into an intermediary in all kinds of exchanges.

We’ve seen various schemes to work cellphones into the transaction space over the years, and so far nothing’s caught on. But considering how much market share the iPhone has already grabbed, we wouldn’t be surprised if by this time next year we go into a Starbucks and see iPhones chiming like upscale versions of those wireless pager coasters restaurants use.

“Apple’s Piping Hot Innovation” [Forbes via Dealerscope]

Patent Application For “Wireless communication system” [US Patent Office]