Windows 8.1 Developer Preview Working With Apple Passbook Data

Microsoft today introduced the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1, the next major update for the line of smartphones. One surprising feature that surfaced was support for Apple’s Passbook data, which was uncovered by The Verge’s Tom Warren. It allowed Warren to display a boarding pass for Virgin America using Microsoft’s Wallet app. “Windows Phone 8.1 supports Apple’s Passbook natively. I’ve been using it for flights. Works perfectly,” tweeted Warren.

Passbook Windows Phone

Rene Ritchie at iMore explains that the current implementation of Passbook involves rendering what ultimately is a web page consisting of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Apple processes this information in the Passbook app, but ultimately it’s no more than a browser, specific to boarding passes, Starbucks, movie tickets, etc.

Microsoft’s Wallet app is basically hijacking the data and rendering the Passbook data within their app. The information Microsoft can collect is static, with no method of updating information. Apple’s Passbook has the capability to update the information, along with providing notifications. Passbook information is ‘code signed’ and it’s unclear how Microsoft is working around this or simply accepting signed or unsigned.

The current Windows 8.1 release is a developer preview, but apparently it’s relatively easy for users to gain access without an associated cost. It’s unlikely that Apple has any agreement in place with Microsoft, or we would have seen some sort of announcement. It remains to be seen if this will find its way into the public release. Does Apple gain anything from having Passbook cards read within Microsoft Wallet?

Source: @tomwarren, iMore