Apple’s location-tracking iBeacon is poised to explode across retail faster than anyone can imagine

“Apple’s product event in San Francisco on Oct. 22 featured the expected upgrades to the iPad and MacBook lines, with better processors, sharper displays, and increased battery life,” Sam Grobart reports for Businessweek.

“The bigger news was quietly rolled out a little more than a month ago, when Apple unleashed iOS 7 onto the world,” Grobart reports. “Embedded in the mobile operating system’s flashier interface and multitasking features is a new technology called iBeacon that can pinpoint your location to within a few feet.”

Grobart reports, “iBeacon is software that enhances the location-tracking services in an iPhone, an iPad Mini, or any device running iOS 7. For retailers desperate to turn smartphones from distractions into a sales tool, it provides a quick way to target ads and other messages to consumers as they walk through a store. For Apple, it’s a chance to collect valuable shopping data and to build a mobile-payment platform into a dominant retail standard… ‘iBeacon’s momentum is just getting started,’ says Hari Gottipati, an independent tech consultant in Phoenix, ‘but it’s going to explode faster than anyone can imagine.'”

Read more in the full article here.

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


      1. If you think that’s an acceptable answer, you need to get back in touch with reality.

        If Apple wants to become a leader in payment systems, it could.

        If Apple wants to become another ad-pusher and personal info vacuum like Google, then its core user base should (and probably would) defect to a less intrusive platform.

        1. You see mike, that’s that’s difference between being a ‘roid sufferer and an iPhone user.
          Google has almost never “done the right thing” so it is reasonable to assume that you will be screwed at every turn.
          On the other hand Apple has virtually always done the right thing and put customer service & privacy right at the top of their list.
          So while it is reasonable for iPhone users to be excited and expect good things from near field technology, it is decidedly not for ‘roid users who will most likely be screwed by google using any technology they can get their grubby little hands on.

        2. We agree that Google is evil, no more needs to be said there.

          When Jobs was at the helm, I could mostly agree with such blind trust in Apple.

          However, recent executive stock price games and needless financial manoeuvres, and blowing over $5 billion shows me a leader who is out of touch with reality. More critically, the current leadership of Apple has been dumbing down software, putting fashion over function, and incessantly pushing intrusive iAds and horribly executed and fundamentally crippled iCloud. Hardware lines and services have huge gaps that a company with the resources of Apple could easily fill if it truly cared about the user community, and which were understandably cut back when Apple was struggling. Cook claims that he wants all users to experience the latest and greatest, hence the freeware strategy, but that runs strongly counter to the LOOOONG wait times for product refreshes. After 5 years of waiting for iWork to be improved with more complete functionality, new Mac versions have significant features REMOVED, Ditto for FCP X, iTunes 11, iMovie, and so on. Advertisements have invaded iOS needlessly, making the plaform look more like Google crapware. Apple laptops are now less user-serviceable and customizable than ever before. Pro users with internal PCI cards and hard drives are offered a choice to replace it all with expensive 3rd party Thunderbolt boxes or continue living with a <2013 machine for as long as OWC supports it. Spend two significant public meetings telling everyone about the great graphics capabilities of the new Mac Pro, and then sit silent about availability of a monitor that matches the new machine….

          Are these new Apple strategies REALLY the best way to support your customer base????

          A different Apple emerging. It's not "different" or hungry or the cute underdog. Apple is now a powerful corporation, and despite what Cook claims, user experience is unquestionably less important to Apple than profit. Watch as he continues to march toward the holy grail of subscription-based computing and servicing Wall Street and his own ego rather than the Apple community (or the long-suffering small business computing community, or enterprise for that matter, both of which have solid reasons for not choosing Apple — foremost because Apple doesn't offer the solutions they need at a price they can justify. Hence yesterday Microsoft, the bane of computing, just announced fantastic financial results. If Apple got its act together, it COULD erode Microsoft's stranglehold on mainstream computing. As it is, the majority of forum members here are deluded into thinking Apple is making inroads into new computing markets, and that the PC era is over. It isn't. iPads are accessories and Wintel machines are in a slump as prospective computer buyers retain their perfectly decent Windows 7 machines (and, yes, upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7 when they do acquire new hardware). How could Apple take a cut of the MS market share? Well, it would start by admitting that market share really does matter.

        3. Mike, you have made it pretty evident at this point that you are an Apple hater. (based on your little diatribe there is apparently nothing about the company that you don’t hate)

          So, my question is twofold why couldn’t you just have been honest upfront, rather than trying to be a “stealth” troll?
          Second what motivates you to hang out on apple news sites and post nonsense like that? Is it the (rumored) 5¢ bounty payed for apple bashing posts? (there are far higher purposes you should be accomplishing with with your time on earth)
          And if you are a avocational troll, ponder that you are letting hate motivate you to do substantial amounts of labor. Let go of that hate and channel your effort into bettering things. Allowing hate and jealousy to motivate you (particularly to do unproductive things) is not a healthy way to live my friend.

  1. I wonder if it really is though? I’ve been hearing about NFC and passbook for years now and nothing has come to fruition. I would opt out of location tracking services that send me spam in two seconds.

  2. If it’s actually going to happen then do it but as it stands now there is just talk. The only thing getting any press other than ‘what if’ articles is gaming controllers in iOS7 but iBeacon is something that has great implications but nobody actually on the ground working toward making it happen. Just great ‘what if’ dreams.

  3. For retailers desperate to turn smartphones from distractions into a sales tool, it provides a quick way to target ads and other messages to consumers as they walk through a store.

    For iPhone users, it provides a huge motivation to TURN OFF iBeacon in order to avoid being TARGETED by nefarious retailers desperate to foist ads at them as they walk through a store.

    It also provides a huge incentive to NEVER return to a store that foists ads at customers via iBeacon.

    Respect your customers.

    1. I don’t understand this logic at all?

      You’re in their store. You’re running their app. There are advertisements everywhere already. How is having targeted ads going to be any worse? In fact, showing me an ad that applies to a product in the department I’m currently in, makes a lot more sense.

      If I don’t want to see the ads, I WON’T RUN THEIR APP. It’s really that simple. There’s no need to turn iBeacon off system-wide. That’s not how it works. Developers program their apps to look for beacons with their signature. When it picks up a signal, a “beacon” event is sent to their app and it acts accordingly.

      1. Follow this logic: Apple implemented Notifications to its OSes that are a double-edged sword. Sometimes they are more annoying and intrusive than it is worth.

        Moreover, as 3rd parties implement beacons and notifications, you can be sure that some will be well done, many will be partially useful, and a considerable number of them will be nothing but ad-pushing to buy buy buy more crap. But it won’t be obvious, as they will all change over time. They will all push up to the limit of human tolerance for ads.

        Consider iAd. For the casual iOS user who wants to check the score of the game but not purchase an application to do so, his iPad will throw up ads in his face. Some people tolerate this, but others of us wonder why in hell one should sit through an ad for an Android device while viewing news on an iPad.

        iBeacon will be no different than iAd and Notifications: more interruptions of unknown value.

        1. You really have no idea how any of this technology works, do you?
          If you find the notifications intrusive then you can customize what you see and when. Beacons are the same thing only more granular.

          Geez! You aren’t even a good troll!

    2. I make it a point not to enter the lair of the nefarious in the first place. I enter the rest with my eyes open, carrying the tools and weapons that are called for. I want to know what they offer in the exotic bazaar; hawkers will tell me as I walk past their stalls, cajoling me; vendors shout out their daily fare; this merely automates that boisterous human interaction. If anything, it’s a bit antiseptic and unromantic; but hardly a fundamental change in the social compact shared in the marketplaces of Earth for millennia.

  4. If you are already IN a store that has iBeacons, you’d be an idiot to deactivate iBeaons on your iPhone because you might miss out on the opportunities and discounts that retailer is offering you. Say I’m already IN Target, why wouldn’t I want to know about the extra 10% off on Tide that’s already in my cart, or that I was thinking about gettting next week?

    1. Or when you set a reminder to buy Tide and then two days later you’re in target you walk by the laundry idle and your phone says don’t forget the tide.

      I’ve got 10 iBeacons to develope and test and they will blow you away..

      There is also the home automation market..

      And a few things I can’t discuss.

    2. That is exactly the point at which I’d want my iPhone to assist me. (I don’t frequent Target, not to seem snobbish, but I wish to elevate the discussion a bit.) Instead of seeking out a salesperson or milling idly in the crowds, why not tune in to what’s on offer?

      1. Why not tune in to what’s on offer?

        First, because many if not most sales are for huge corporate brands that are overpriced because of name recognition, fancy packaging, premium aisle placement, and now also software pushing ads in your face, NOT for product quality. Other sales are for crappy products that didn’t sell for a reason.

        Frequently one can go to a grocery store and come out with equivalent quality non-sale brands that are cheaper than the load of brand-name stuff that the next customer thinks he saved all kinds of money purchasing. So what’s the benefit of adding junk mail to your phone when the store flyer is already filling up your in-box? Are you that gullible to actually DESIRE in-store electronic sales pitches instead of making a list of what you need BEFORE going to the store?

        iBeacons = distractions. The ONLY REASON that any store would implement electronic sales features is to push more merchandise that customers don’t need without actually paying a helpful sales staff that can answer your questions and teach you about the product, allow you to try it, etc.

        I don’t see this as a huge benefit for consumers, but rather for the Walmarts of the world who prey on dumb consumers.

  5. Apparently, none of you naysayers have ever gone shopping and come home and had your wife ask you: “Did you use the coupon I clipped for that?” If iBeacons can save me from having that conversation even one time – spam the sh!t out of me!!!

  6. Imagine walking into a Home Depot, or Walmart and having your phone direct you to the exact location of an item ? This will be a great use for ibeacon technology.

    1. Perhaps you don’t understand the science of retail store design: always force the customer to walk by as many accessories and prominent promotion displays on the way to the one item that the customer actually wants to buy.

      One can easily imagine iBeacon’s negative uses easily outweighing the positive promise if iBeacon is put in the hands of ANY establishment that has a primary purpose of making money.

      … and if you actually think that the huge mega-retailers who have enough money to implement iBeacon-equipped apps give much concern to customer experience, you would be mistaken. They are merely implementing technology to eliminate sales employees who once upon a time knew the products they sold and could educate the customers on them. Now most large retailers are one step removed from vending machines, with a “greeter” acting as the token customer service, and constant sales pushes accomplished via electronic means on the internet, and now also in your pocket.

      I am not impressed with every electronic screen and every internet service rapidly being taken over by advertising.

      1. Holy crap!
        I can only imagine the survivalist, anti-consumerism, end-times bunker you have constructed for yourself. Do you power your early Windows XP laptop with a pedal pumped flywheel?
        The enormous amount of drivel you excrete is astounding!

  7. iBeacons is more than just shopping. Imagine the if museums, art galleries, parks visitors centres, libraries etc etc were to implement this tech. Wandering around with iPhone getting stuff related to the stuff I stop to look at. Sure beats those tacky crap Walkman type thingys that are usually supplied (for a cost).

  8. Bargain hunting is fun for a lot of shoppers. Merchants who understand smart shoppers and have the right attitude as they design their promotions should only enhance the experience, increasing the number of sales transactions and making both parties happy.

    My mother was an inveterate coupon clipper. She would mail me fat envelopes of them, everything from coffee filters to jumpsuits. Most of the time, I couldn’t be bothered with them. Now that there are shopping apps, life is so much better. iBeacon beckons shoppers into a fresh new age of curated shopping that reimagines the concept of the coupon.

    I realise many of you see such commercial systems as additional spam opportunities, or as a surreptitious compiling of dossiers. I hardly think commerce is a domain where slippery-slope, second-amendment arguments work very well.

    The real issue that has to be addressed is not so much abstract individual rights, but capitalism itself at the retail level. Industry after industry is seeing a forced makeover, thanks to the relentless evolutionary pressure of technology. Retail is individuals meeting mass marketing. Why exempt it from the benefits of personalisation?

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