A recent Apple filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission provides an in-depth look at the first Apple-designed iBeacon hardware. The filing was published on July 4th and went under the radar until mentioned on Twitter on Saturday evening.
The detailed documents list all of the measurements, specifications and standard FCC testing necessary for regulatory approval of the hardware, and the device unsurprisingly passed all of these tests.
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac provides an overview of the technical information:
“[The hardware] is powered by a 5 volt power supply and it works on a 2.4GHz wireless frequency. The device was tested by the FCC in several environments, including in semi-anechoic and fully-anechoic chambers, the device unsurprisingly passed each of the government agency’s tests.”
Apple introduced its location-aware iBeacon technology at WWDC 2013 last year, allowing for iOS devices to receive information pertinent to their location. For instance, Apple uses iBeacons at its retail stores to provide customers with precise information about products on their iOS device.
At this point, it remains unknown if this iBeacon hardware is designed for consumers, developers or Apple themselves. Apple currently uses third-party iBeacon hardware in its retail stores, so perhaps it is looking to replace those units with its own solution.
Apple could also be aiming this iBeacon hardware toward developers. The company already has an iBeacon for Developers program that provides documentation and resources for developers to create iBeacon-enabled hardware and accessories, and it could sell its in-house hardware through this portal.
The third possibility is that Apple releases this iBeacon hardware for consumers as its first HomeKit device. Last month, Apple introduced HomeKit as its smart home platform for connecting iOS devices to garage doors, locks, thermostats and more.