Apple will reportedly deploy its new iBeacon location tracking technology in its retail stores that will work with iOS 7 devices to enhance the store experience for prospective shoppers, while also increasing sales in the process. iBeacon is a GPS-like solution for indoor areas where Bluetooth 4.0-enabled iPhones can be used to trigger certain actions when found in the proximity of these sensors. 9to5mac has learned from multiple sources that Apple plans to install iBeacon transmitters in its stores and use them in combination with an updated Apple Store iPhone app. The application already knows if a customer is in an Apple Store, but thanks to iBeacons, its location accuracy will be significantly improved.
The iBeacons will reportedly be placed on tables where products are displayed and in various accessory shelves. When walking past the sensors, customers will receive a notification that will let them access more information straight on the iPhone inside the Apple Store app about a certain product including features, prices and available workshops for that particular product.
In the future, the technology could be used to track customers waiting for Genius Bar appointments, send notifications about the repair status of an Apple product to customers walking by the store, show product-related ads and deals and even offer support for purchases with enhanced security.
Apple Store app mock showing iBeacon-based notification for in-store workshops (left) and accessory information (right) | Image credit: 9to5Mac
“iBeacon seems like it was created with Apple Retail in mind,” one unnamed developer familiar with the technology told 9to5Mac, but the technology could be used in other indoor locations including non-Apple retail stores in the future. Major League Baseball has already begun testing iBeacons, aiming to personalized stadium experiences to iPhone users. Apple is apparently also testing a program for developers to easily integrate iBeacons support in their apps.
More importantly, the publication speculates that iBeacons could be used by Apple with its indoor mapping plans that are reportedly in place for a future version of iOS.