Apple is expected to unveil iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 during the opening keynote of this year’s WWDC edition, with The New York Times having already confirmed certain details about the company’s upcoming announcements that will cover, among other things, an iOS 8 health tracking app and Apple’s first smart home related efforts. Beyond those big announcements, The Wall Street Journal now says that the iPhone maker will also reveal more iBeacon-related plans during the conference.
Introduced last year, iBeacons are tiny Bluetooth-based sensors that can help with indoor tracking. The sensors are expected to be particularly popular with retail stores and their efforts to better promote products to customers depending on their position in a store, and are currently used in Apple stores and some Major League Baseball stadiums.
However, the technology is expected to further evolve in the coming years as developers find more uses for iBeacon tracking. The sensors are the most precise location-based technology available for smartphones, and they can be an important asset for many companies.
Apple is expected to place iBeacons throughout Moscone Center and offer developer sessions to further explain how the technology can be implemented.
In addition to pushing relevant information, or promotional offers, to smartphone users depending on their positions, iBeacon technology could further be used for wireless payments purposes, and could be integrated with various home automation products in the future, and it wouldn’t be surprising seeing Apple include such support in its future smart home plans.
The Journal says that third-party iBeacon devices currently sell for $5 to $30 a piece, but the price is expected to drop to less than $2 next year, making them very affordable for widespread use. A company developing iBeacon hardware, services and software revealed that almost 20,000 developers have paid to use its SDKs already.