Apple Cuts the Line

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has a nagging pet peeve: he absolutely hates waiting in long lines, be it for a coffee or a hamburger. The only difference between Jobs and the countless others who share his grief is that the tech magnate is actually going to do something about the situation, and likely make millions in the process.

Jobs is in the midst of patenting a service that will allow customers to skip the line at coffee houses and fast food joints. If he had his way, Jobs would ensure that nobody would have to stand in a line ever again. The method is as simple as it is complex: a system that lets customers place an order when they are inside the building using a wireless device such as a media player, cell phone or PDA. Don't think of it as similar to calling ahead and placing your order. Think of it more as if you were to walk into your favorite food and beverage place and be the first in line...every time. (Source:

The entire process could advance the budding relationship between Apple and Starbucks. Upon release of the iPhone, Apple struck a deal with Starbucks to allow iPhone users to simply press a button and wirelessly download the song playing in the background of the coffee shop.

If the new wireless system becomes patented, customers would only have to push a button and their favorite food or drink would appear on the ordering screen. The wireless device (cell phone, PDA) would then ring, flash or vibrate to let the customer know their order is ready to be picked up at the counter.

Apple has a host of other patent-pending services ready for 2008. One new service would allow for a device to keep track of where a user shops and what their favorite purchases are. Computers at participating stores would also keep tabs on regular customers and their favorite orders, so that employees can put aside their preferred items ahead of time. (Source:

All in all, the new initiative is further evidence that Apple hopes to remain one of the most innovative companies in both technology and intermediary exchanges for quite some time.

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