Ina Fried

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Major League Baseball Hopes iPhone Tickets Will Be a Hit

While riding to San Francisco’s AT&T Park on Wednesday, an alert popped up on my phone letting me know that the Giants game was nearby, even though I was still on the train nearing the ballpark.

As I neared the gate, I simply pulled out my just-updated iPhone and a bar code appeared that was scanned in, taking the place of a physical ticket.

Major League Baseball is among the first entities to try out Passbook, the iOS 6 feature that allows tickets, gift cards and boarding passes to be stored in a single spot on the iPhone.

Starting with games on Thursday, the league is supporting Passbook tickets with four teams: The San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals.

The league has been an early adopter of mobile ticketing, supporting cellphone tickets since 2007, though until now it has used a less elegant text-message-based option.

MLB was among those on hand for the iPhone 5 launch last week, along with representatives from Sephora and Starbucks, which will both support Passbook for their loyalty cards.

Apple released iOS 6, which includes Passbook for the iPhone, earlier on Wednesday. The free update works on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and the soon-to-go-on-sale iPhone 5.

As other phone makers push near field communication to make transactions even more seamless, Apple has said it is focused for now on Passbook, which still requires the use of bar codes for loyalty cards, tickets and boarding passes to be scanned.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus