Apple’s iOS 7.1 delivers major, game-changing iBeacon improvement

“Apple launched iOS 7.1 [yesterday] and with it a major, game-changing improvement to iBeacon,” Doug Thompson writes for BEEKn.

“Once an app is installed it will ‘look’ for beacons even if your app is shut down or you’ve rebooted your phone,” Thompson writes. “We tested the functionality today to verify the new feature. After opening an iBeacon app we hard closed it: not just putting it into the background tray but swiping it closed entirely. The phone still detected beacons and sent a message through the lock screen, something which in the past was reserved for apps that were at minimum running in the background tray. The functionality even works if you reboot your device: after you power down your phone and start it up again, it will continue listening for beacons even if you don’t open up the app again.”

“The change is significant,” Thompson writes. “The user can still opt out by turning off ‘location permission’ under settings, can turn Bluetooth off, or can delete your app entirely. But the change is a major boon to iBeacon developers – and will mean you no longer need to find fancy ways to prompt your user to keep an app in background mode.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

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    1. Meh, IF they do have access to iPhones (which Apple denies), this isn’t going to track you much more than the GPS and transactions already do.

      I’m on the fence about this. If I was in a big shopping store like Home Depot or Macys I MIGHT appreciate the texts for sale items, but I can’t imagine walking down through SoHo in NYC with all the tiny store that are packed together or a giant mall.

      We’ll see how it goes. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

      1. It could be like the movie ‘Minority Report’, except the retailers and merchants won’t have to buy large screens to bombard you with information.
        And I doubt very much that it will just be on sale items: manufacturers will pay retailers a premium to predominately feature and display their products like they do now with endcaps in grocery stores and counter space in convenience stores.

    1. Please explain how this will suck up your battery?

      Bluetooth (and all radio receivers) constantly listen for incoming signals when they’re on. Al the system does is grab whatever is coming in and checks its list of registered iBeacons – these are iBeacon identification numbers that apps have asked the system to listen for, so of course the app has to be launched at least one time.

    2. iBeacon is short range, receiving only, low power over Bluetooth 4.0. aka Bluetooth Smart. The pulse until they detect a signal.

      Sounds kinda like the Garmin Chirp beacons I plant in the forest. One of these beacons can run off a watch battery for a year.

  1. The success of iBeacon by retailers, marketers and other organizations that adopt it will be based on how it’s used. When a new enabling technology becomes available, marketers and businesses often deploy it without really thinking through the best potential use and approach to the customer. If a retailer deploys iBeacon to spam a customer as soon as they enter a store, it may hurt more than help.

    On the other hand, if a retailer uses iBeacon to offer genuine help, customers will more likely embrace its use. For example, every time I walk into a Home Depot, I am lost. There are so many aisles of merchandise without a clear notion of where the widget I’m searching for can be found. (I went to a Home Depot with my wife a few years back and we got separated in plumbing supplies – I hope she’s doing well, wherever she is. But I digress.)

    Imagine if I could be greeted by a Home Depot iBeacon upon entry with a simple question: “Welcome to Home Depot. Let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll guide you there.” With a swift entry of the description of the item I’m looking for, the Home Depot system could respond with the exact location of the item (let’s say a Rain Bird automatic sprinkler head) mapped out in the store, and perhaps with walking directions to its location. It might bring up a product description and price. If necessary, you could summon a Home Depot staff member from your iPhone, all via iBeacon.

    That simple act could help me complete my shopping more quickly, assure a sale for Home Depot and assure that my shopping experience was outstanding. That’s the sort of marketing that would make me a dedicated Home Depot customer, all by integrating iBeacon technology correctly with the company’s IT infrastructure and merchandising.

    My hunch is that we won’t see this happen very soon. It would mean upgrading the IT back end with marketing and merchandising systems. But if storefront retailers want to compete with Amazon, this is exactly the sort of experience they will need to create for their customers. iBeacon can help make this possible – if retailers see the light and move quickly.

    Similar scenarios could be used for grocery shopping, museums, sports stadiums, hospitals, airports and more. Fingers crossed that this will happen. My hope is that a few years from now, Apple’s new creation will become mainstream and that we, the customer will be the better for it. What Apple has done with iBeacon is amazing. Let’s hope its end users (retailers) are equal to the task.

    1. Wrong, troll. Decline button on the home screen. Auto HDR on camera. List view for month on calendar. All made a difference for me. Started update when I went to bed. Was done when I awoke.

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