Starbucks finally has two official applications available for download direct to your iPhone from the App Store. The first, called myStarbucks, is extremely conventient for coffee-junkies such as myself. This app allows users to view local stores, customize drinks, and look at all the food choices (and their nutritional facts)!
The coolest feature of the app is the "Drink Builder". To view and customize drinks, you open the "Drink Builder". You is then prompted to select hot or cold. After you make your selection, all of the drinks pop up and you can pick from them. Once a drink has been selected, the customization screen pops up. Customization options include additional shots of espresso, syrups, toppings, preparation, and other add-ins. Once you have customized your drink perfectly, you can save the drink for future reference. Once saved, the page with the drink displays the nutritional information, and a nice little button that says "share this drink". The perfect drink can literally be shared with anyone: from your friend who wants to spice up his or her life, all the way to the coffee gofer at the office. Never let anyone get your drink wrong again!
Another great feature is the ability to see what food is available at the local Starbucks. Even better (or worse depending on how you look at it) is the app's ability to display the nutritional facts for all of the foods! Once a specific food is selected, the app displays a coffee with which, the food pairs nicely. Next time I pop by Starbucks for my regular "Fruit Cup" I will know that it has 90 calories, and that it pairs well with the Latin America House Blend.
I thought the myStarbucks app was cool until I caught wind of another project that Starbucks has started. Another app called "Mobile Card" is a new app that let's all users check the balance of gift cards, however, it's the other function of the app that blows it out of the park. At 16 locations (hopefully more very soon) locations in Seattle, WA and Silicon Valley, CA users can purchase gift cards directly on the phone, and get this: use the phone as a virtual gift card! The app displays a gift card, just like the ones that you have in your wallet, and when you tap "Pay" the card flips over and displays a QR Code. These select locations have capable scanners that allow them to scan the QR Code from the phone, and accept it as a form of payment!
This is a really new and innovative feature that will hopefully be available everywhere extremely soon! For now, I suppose that I will continue to use my plastic gift cards, while thoroughly enjoying the myStarbucks app!