Before today, the official Starbucks app was perfectly serviceable - in fact, I'd say it was better than most retail apps. You can store pre-paid Starbucks cards in the app and pay with them, see your rewards for being a loyal customer, and find coffee shops with the built-in map (in case you can't see one by turning your head from side to side). But today's sizeable update from version 2.4 to 2.7 adds some neat stuff, most notably the ability to tip your coffee minion.
Starbucks is looking to provide customers with the option to order their beverage in-app, saving them the effort of waiting in line to get in and get out with something to drink. Re/code reports that the company will start testing the feature in an undisclosed market later this year.
The concept of placing an order using a mobile app in order to skip the wait later on is not groundbreaking. After all, Chipotle expanded this feature to all of its locations late last year.
For millions of coffee drinkers, Starbucks is a sort of a daily Mecca - they can't imagine skipping even a day, and spending over $100 a month on liquid caffeinated pleasures is pretty much business as usual. Because of that, unofficial Starbucks apps that replace Starbuck's own Starbucks Cards on mobile devices quickly gained popularity.
If you've followed the history of the most popular one of them - the 4.7-star Starbucks Card Widget, you may have seen that Starbucks actually C&D'ed them back in February for using the brand name, after which the app got reborn as My Coffee Card and was most recently featured as Amazon Appstore's free app of the day.