updated 12:35 pm EDT, Mon May 7, 2012
App, custom case involved in changeover
US government railroad Amtrak is migrating to the iPhone for ticket scanning, the New York Times reports. Conductors on some routes have been training on the technology since November; during testing, passengers could submit either a regular ticket or a special barcode loaded on their smartphone. During the official rollout, some 1,700 conductors around the country will start using iPhones by late summer.
To deal with the conductors' needs, each iPhone will be fitted with a special case holding an extra battery and a dedicated barcode scanner. The phones will also come preloaded with a custom scanning app, capable of detecting issues like handicapped status; conductors will moreover be able to perform unrelated tasks, like reporting mechanical failures.
The developer of the conductor app is Übermind, notes 9to5Mac. The same company is also responsible for Amtrak's passenger app, which is used to bring up the electronic barcodes.