Apple To Patent Line-Cutting Technology

    December 28, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Devices like the iPhone could be virtual baristas and sandwich makers, if an Apple patent application for placing orders at places like Starbucks and Panera receives approval.

There could be one more reason to hate the smug beret-wearing MacBook toting hipster who strolls into the coffeehouse like he owns the place. He may be walking up to the counter and stepping out with a cafe mocha while the masses wait in line.

A patent application from Apple seeks protection for the idea of a processing system that lets someone wirelessly drop an order into the business’s workflow. Then an employee can fill the order as it was received.

A Forbes report said the patent would go beyond an existing Apple and Starbucks partnership over music downloads. A Starbucks patron bearing an iPhone can download whatever song is being played in the background by tapping a button.

Apple’s application also accounts for automatic payment for the purchase as part of the order process. The process verifies “sufficient financial resources available to the consumer to complete the transaction.”

The iTunes Store requires customers to keep a credit card number with the service. Apple may plan to extend that model to the implementation of this patent. The order process would check for fund availability on the stored credit card, then charge the price of the order to it.