Apple patents citywide iBeacon-based navigation infrastructure to augment, replace GPS

“In a patent awarded to Apple on Tuesday, the company imagines entire cities outfitted with low-power wireless transmitters capable of sending pinpoint-accurate location data, as well as dynamic environmental alerts, to iPhones and in-car navigation systems,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 9,344,989 for a ‘System with wireless messages to enhance location accuracy'” continues the company’s investigation into beacon-based navigation, but on a grand scale,” Campbell reports. “Instead of helping iPhone owners find their parked car in an underground lot, or triangulate their position using advanced geofencing algorithms, Apple’s latest invention seeks to address weaknesses inherent in all GPS-based navigation systems. Specifically, today’s patent attempts to solve signal reception issues that crop up in densely populated cities.”

“The bold plan calls for a multitude of stationary transmitters to be installed at strategic locations next to or near a city’s roads, such as adjacent buildings, within preexisting traffic lights, roadside signs, guard rails and other structures,” Campbell reports. “Applied to navigation, the system can be configured to track vehicle movement with a high degree of accuracy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Inexorably, the full picture resolves.

Apple iBeacon finds its way into McDonald’s and sandwich sales increase – December 18, 2014
Estimote makes ‘Nearables’ – iBeacon stickers you can stick on anything – August 22, 2014
Apple and the omnichannel: 9 industries already using Apple’s iBeacon – July 29, 2014
Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor roll out Apple’s iBeacon tech across North America – July 28, 2014
Hundreds of London businesses are about to flip the switch on payments via iBeacons – June 19, 2014
inMarket: iBeacon increases in-store app usage, retention, and brand engagement – June 16, 2014
Google wants in on Apple Inc.’s iBeacon party – June 9, 2014
GE integrates iBeacon into new LED light fixtures, Walmart installing in stores worldwide – May 29, 2014
Walgreens and Walmart testing iBeacon, Motorola Solutions launches iBeacon marketing platform – May 7, 2014
Virgin Atlantic trials Apple iBeacon tech for iPhone users at London Heathrow Airport – May 2, 2014
New York City bars to use Apple’s iBeacon for pub crawl promo – April 28, 2014
New sunglasses with iBeacon notify you when lost, act as beacons in retail – April 28, 2014


    1. This isn’t really that different than what’s allead out there. It gets you from point A to B. And how is AAPLs balance sheet going to be improved by this? I.e. how will my stock be favorably affected? Are people going to suddenly pay apple for iBeacon when GPS is free and available?

      1. I’m thinking you missed the statement “Apple’s latest invention seeks to address weaknesses inherent in all GPS-based navigation systems. Specifically, today’s patent attempts to solve signal reception issues that crop up in densely populated cities.”

        Then add in the rumored Apple car.

        This will allow Apple cars to safely navigate the city streets/tunnels/ parking garages, any place where GPS is weak or unavailable today.

  1. Careful, with Apple Map’s inglorious history of getting people lost and stranding them. Well, be careful that iBeacon doesn’t have you driving in circles in the hood, the ghetto, the barrio, or the hills of West Virginia, where you could, well, be in a whole heap of trouble.

    1. The Apple Maps “issues” were blown way out of proportion. I have always gotten lost with Google Maps but never with Apple Maps. The only time Apple Maps was “wrong” was when I looked for a FedEx store that moved across the street less than a month prior to my search.

  2. So iBeacon has almost nothing to do with department store coupons and almost everything to do with the upcoming Apple car!?

    Always thinking miles ahead.

  3. I’m always amazed that the naysayers think Apple has already revealed everything they are working on and nothing new will come out in the next 5, 19, or 20 years. It shows they pay very little attention to what Steve considered his greatest creation, Apple itself. Some of these critics are only a little more forward thinking than analysts, who view time in 3 month chunks.

    1. Yes, Derek. The proposed GPS augmentation transmitters send z-axis data. You could find your car in an above-ground parking garage by storey (not sure about underground penetration)

      1. Wow, was that past news.

        My worry, as usual, is surveillance. No one is ever welcome to surveil me as I require my right to privacy. I’ve written plenty about the subject over many years.

        A) I don’t deal with Totalitarianism. Any government that subjects their citizens to totalitarian tactics is a FAILure and requires immediate replacement.

        B) Tough luck if MARKETING MORONS want to surveil me. I’ll use every means at my disposal to:

        • If that means I have to wrap my iPhone in an aluminum foil deflector beanie whenever I go shopping, that’s fine with me. I don’t do beacons.

        • If that means I have to wear Groucho Marx glasses and mustache to foil a facial recognition system, or better yet an Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask, I will while snarkily laughing all the way….

        And of course the ultimate paranoia is we humans being chipped by the 666 gang. Revelation extrema. Big Beast Is Watching You. 😛

  4. Beacons are anything but dead. IBM has a whole infrastructure for presence in stores, formerly known as Presence Insights. Their technology can offer a customer walking around a store moment-by-moment offers based on where the customer is. Walking by tennis shoes? Offer something related. Customers must opt in, of course. Personally, I hate offer bombardments but many people can’t get enough.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.