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Apple starts offering Passbook-enabled gift cards, may save our hides in holiday shopping

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Gift cards often get a bad rap as the last resort in holiday shopping, what we supposedly get only when all hope of a carefully considered present has gone out the window. Apple isn't quite so cyncial, and it may have injected new life into gift giving now that it has switched on buying gift cards through the recently updated Apple Store iOS app as of this weekend. Pick a color and a card value -- up to $2,000, if someone's been good enough to earn a MacBook Pro -- and the resulting email lets iOS 6-touting recipients load the card into Passbook. Besides saving some plastic, the Passbook entry adds some worth through geofencing that reminds recipients to splurge if they're near one of Apple's steel-and-glass stores. All told, the card may be more than welcome by iPhone fans and save the ignominy of a last-minute rush to the store. Just make sure the recipient doesn't mind going without a physical gift on the big day -- it wouldn't be right to drain all the romanticism out of a special occasion.

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