By Markus Busch

The folks at Patently Apple fan website did a great job going through an Apple patent filed this month, uncovering drawings for an Apple iPhone app called iTravel, which would basically app-ify the entire travel process.

Unlike with most OTAs, travel for Apple is not just searching and booking. In the true fashion of an innovator with a track record of getting things right (mostly), Apple is looking at travel as a whole, planning to create value by turning a once frustrating shopping experience into an easy, intuitive, and enjoyable one.

Based on a combination of iPhone hardware and apps, Apple iTravel wants to manage your entire travel process, from planning, searching, reviewing and booking flights, hotels, car rentals, trains and bus journeys, including identifying yourself at airports for baggage handling and boarding passes - technically in a similar fashion as the iPhone-based payment system adopted by Starbucks.

While electronic ticketing and check-in via mobile devices are already available in many countries, putting the whole travel experience in one slick application is the innovation here and a huge business opportunity, especially coming from a travel outsider like Apple, who already successfully disrupted industries like music and phones.

Who will deliver the travel content?