Patent filings in the USA reveal that Apple is planning an iTravel app using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, which will take you from airline booking to airport ticketing, through security, onto the plane, help you with on-board entertainment, product purchasing, through the airport at the other end, and even to your hotel's check-in and other services.
You can find the full story at patentlyapple or a pretty good walk through at Australian Business Traveller, or try Tnooz.com - and especially the related posts about how Siri will assist Apple in world travel domination over Google!
Kevin May at Tnooz offers this little insight to the app as a travel industry gamechanger:
A single piece of functionality like iTravel pretty much puts the search, buy, and trip management (such as check-in, security) experience direct into the user’s hand through one entry point.I think he has quite a point.
It would be attractive to many users and therefore significant amounts of travel distribution would start to go through such a device.
To be a part of that search and booking ecosystem is attractive to those involve, but not for those that are squeezed out.
It is now possible to imagine a digital travel sector dominated (even controlled) by just a handful of powerful players – those that run the devices and/or the distribution.
The final point to make here is that, once again, it will be the outsiders that disrupt the travel sector, not those already within it.