Starbucks reveals iPhone apps, heralds mobile e-commerce

Starbucks has introduced two new applications for the iPhone and iPod touch that will allow users to order and pay for coffee beverages directly from the device.

Extra-hot venti with whip white chocolate mocha?

Yeah, there's an app for that.

Starbucks has introduced two new applications for the iPhone and iPod touch that will allow users to order and pay for coffee beverages directly from the device.

The myStarbucks application allows you to customize your favorite drink, remember friends' or coworkers' preferred drinks and locate nearby Starbucks stores to order them. The app allows you to share your concoction with others (hey, intern!).

For the uninitiated, a flavor selector helps you choose a coffee based on flavors like earthy, balanced or nutty.

For horror lovers, you can also look up nutritional information.

The other app, the Starbucks Card Mobile App, is in a limited run and will allow people in select West Coast stores to pay for beverages using a bar code on a phone's screen.

(If you're in Seattle; Cupertino, Calif.; Mountain View, Calif.; Sunnyvale, Calif.; and San Jose, Calif., check your local store for more info.)

The app is essentially a digitized Starbucks card: you buy credit, then use it against purchases. The store can scan the barcode and the dollar value of the drink will be subtracted from your credit repository.

Is the barcode the wave of the future? It's unclear. But either way, it's the easiest method invented to date on spending $5 on a cup of coffee.