iOS 7 users: Apple’s secret retail weapon is already in your pocket

“It’s been a month since Apple unleashed iOS 7 onto the world, and while some of its flashier features have garnered a lot of attention, the most important part of iOS 7 is one you’ve probably never even heard of—even though, if you’ve upgraded, you already have it,” Sam Grobart reports for Businessweek.

“Search Google for ‘Apple iBeacon’ and you’ll get plenty of results, but none from Apple.com. Look for the term on Apple’s site and you’ll get one hit, a not-very-illuminating link to Apple’s list of trademarks. Don’t be fooled: iBeacon is important,” Grobart reports. “It’s software that enhances an iPhone’s location services (or an iPad Mini’s, or that of any device running iOS 7), and may prove to be a pretty big deal when it comes to the iPhone’s role in retail — something Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s new retail chief, will likely be thinking about as she settles in at Cupertino.”

Grobart reports, “Prior to iBeacon, an iPhone relied on GPS and Wi-Fi tower triangulation to know where it was. Those are great technologies and continue to be a part of iOS. But they have their limits… iIBeacon is a third locating system, one that runs on something called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). ‘It’s a game-changing technology,’ says tech blogger Steve Cheney, who has written extensively on the topic. With iBeacon, any iOS 7 device becomes a potential BLE beacon, and it’s already in place in every new and updated iPhone and iPad. For retailers to make their spaces iBeacon-friendly, they’ll need dedicated beacons, like the $99 three-pack from Estimote… NFC requires an NFC chip, which not all devices have; most smartphones and tablets already come with Bluetooth… It also required the cooperation of credit-card companies, which added a layer of complexity to its implementation. ‘Bluetooth is so much better,’ says Cheney. ‘Not only is it already in every single iPhone dating back two years, Android can support this, too, when Google catches up in software.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. The rest follow. As usual.

Related articles:
Attention, retailers: With iBeacon, Apple has figured out mobile marketing – October 11, 2013
Apple’s iBeacon to deliver completely interactive experiences for fans at MLB stadiums – September 27, 2013
Apple’s amazing iOS 7: Three game-changers hidden in plain sight – September 26, 2013
Apple’s brilliant iBeacons system will enable purchases, contextual marketing, automated check-ins and much more – September 14, 2013
Apple’s NFC killer: iOS 7′s iBeacons – September 11, 2013
iBeacons may prove to be Apple’s biggest new feature for iOS 7

30 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I totally get it. Seems to me that iBeacon is just another avenue for ads.

    Can I pay with it?

    Can I get more info on a product I’m looking at?

    What exactly can I do with it?

      1. Oops! Didn’t finish…

        With a little imagination, there are many, many applications; Walk into an airport and you’re automatically checked in, GEt home and your lights automatically come on, walk up to your car and it connects up “iOS in the Car”, sit down at your computer and just use the touch ID on the iPhone to log into your account, automated tours in museums, could be used to help guide you through a structure (mall, hospital, office building, etc.).

    1. BLE = Bluetooth Low Energy. This can run for up to two years on a coin battery.

      Furthermore, it’s up to individual apps to pick up the signals. If you don’t want WalMart sending you ads while you’re shopping, don’t install the WalMart app.

        1. 1. Turn it off. (However you should know, the screen, the CPU, the mobile radios, etc. all drain the battery, should we get rid of those as well?)

          2. Who says you’re going to receive tons of spam? These iBeacons aren’t just going to appear on your phone… YOU have to tell the phone that you want to listen for them. (If you’re in Target you’re already being solicited and have tons of advertising thrown in your face. If you’re running Target’s app, the same thing. All iBeacons will do is let the Target app know which part of the store you’re in… so the app can update itself to show you something more appropriate.)

          Although, after reading your posts… I imagine you’re on the floor kicking and screaming with your hands over your ears like a little baby, refusing to listen to any reasonable logic… maybe you’re full of crap and your diapers need changed?

          1. The problem is, you can tell actual users from the recent flood of trolls that now infest this site.

            Generally anyone who has to claim how much of a “fanboy” they are, how they actually love apple and are using this apple device or that (or how they were a mac plus owner back in ’84 ;-)) are normally huge red flags.

            S0… I use this criteria: If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.

            1. Yes, I’ve noticed a sure-fire way to detect a poser:

              Claimed ownership of every iDevice ever made, LISTING them, like so: iPhone, iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, 5S. (Troll won’t be able to resist dissing the 5C as toy for girls.)

        1. This is the same CR that made up “facts” against the 4 (remember antenna gate”, Ues, oh I though so.

          And this is just a personal obversation but virtually every ‘roid owner I know is always turning off LTE and bluetooth to save batteries, so they can “make it though the day”
          And conversely virtually every iPhone owner I know (and is true for me as well) never turns LTE off and many (like me) have bluetooth on constantly as well and never have “getting through the day” issues.

          So you can take your faked benchmarks (proving that samsung knows it is way behind LAST years iPhone performance wise) and your consumer reports article bashing apple and be happy with your battery sucking ‘roid piece of crap.

          And you do get the significance that is you posting on an apple forum and not vice versa… don’t you?

          1. I said, remove your head from your ass. You may find it much easier to read my posts extracting your head first. Also, how do you personally experience anything meaningful with your head so deeply and firmly inserted?

            1. If you want a thicker, wider, heavier phone, you too can have a larger battery.

              My son’s friends are likewise complaining about their battery life, and part of the problem seems to be in the Android phones’ handling of LTE connections (they constantly seem to drop). My son doesn’t have that problem with his iPhone 5.

        2. If you need more “battery” in your iPhone, you are using it more as an information device. Some options exist.

          You can get a snap-on battery or just move to what you really need if you are online all the time and that is an iPad.

  2. Ios7 is very good in the new features that have been added. However there are some major kinks that need to be sorted out. On my iPhone 4S I am experiencing the following:
    1. The apple music store app simply does not work anymore. Can’t search for songs, browse. Etc. totally non responsive. Have restarted the phone several times.
    2. Wifi seems to be cutting out. Internet apps simple hang because not getting a signal.
    3. Messages doesn’t seem to work all the time.

    This is costing apple money since I would have bought songs if I could.

    1. I too have iOS 7 installed on my iPhone 4s, but I have none of the problems you list. I suggest you head to a Genius Bar and get it diagnosed. Have you done a software restore?

    2. My iPhone 4 isn’t showing any of the issues your 4S seems to have, I’m downloading songs at this very moment from tags on my Shazam app, which, oddly enough, is the only app that seems to be displaying any issues, occasionally displaying an error message about an acoustic problem, possibly to do with microphone access. It was fine before updating.
      I only have Internet issues because the local network is so shonky. Wifi is fine.

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