iOS 7 comes with more than 200 new features and improvements. One of the features that went unnoticed, but holds a lot of potential is iBeacons, a special Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) profile that enables “micro-location” and ranging.
The company reportedly plans to integrate this technology in its retail stores to improve the in-store shopping experience and increase sales.
Apple is said to have begun stocking up on iBeacon transmitters, and the company, in the next few days, will begin installing these sensors in many Apple Stores across the United States. These transmitters will be placed on the tables that house Apple products in addition to store shelves holding accessories. The technology will serve as a way to both improve the Apple shopping experience, and in-turn, boost product sales.
The sources say that the technology will be used in tandem with an upcoming update to the Apple Store iPhone app. The service will allow a customer to walk up to a product and then receive a notification on their iPhone with additional information such as pricing and features.
Possible notifications that could be delivered to customers include ones that inform them of workshop sessions about products they own. The microlocatiion technology could also be used to locate customers who have a Genius appointment scheduled, or present them with ads and deals of products and accessories they might want to purchase if they’re passing by a place where they are displayed. You could of course turn all of this off, if you find it annoying.
Since iBeacons isn’t very popular as of now, putting it in Apple Stores seems like a cool way to let people know about the cabapilities of this technology and encourage adoption in other businesses as well. MLB is already using iBeacons to create interactive experience for fans in stadiums.
Apple also reportedly plans to add indoor maps to its Maps app, but that will be included in iOS 8, the next major iOS software update that will be released in 2014.