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iTunes 11 surprise: Apple sneaks in a gift card scanner

The new feature lets Mac users scan gift cards and other promotional codes into iTunes using a built-in camera instead of typing them in.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

One unadvertised feature in Apple's just-released iTunes 11 lets users tap into their built-in video camera to redeem gift cards and other promotional codes.

The feature, which Apple did not demonstrate at the software's unveiling in September or in subsequent marketing materials, can pull out the alphanumeric codes and submit them. This means you can redeem a code without having to type it in, though that option remains if the software is unable to pick it up.

In order to use the feature, the promotional code must be from gift cards that place the code within a square box, something that freebie app and content cards from places like Starbucks do not currently include. The feature also only works on Macs, and not Windows at the moment.

Despite the addition, Apple's iTunes and App Store for iOS continue to require users to manually type in the codes.

(via Macrumors)

First Look
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Updated at 12:45 p.m. PT to note that the feature is only present in the Mac version of iTunes 11.