iBeacons reportedly making their way to Apple Retail, will serve as your virtual concierge

iBeacons - a Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy powered technology that could enhance or enable everything from indoor mapping to location-based knowledge stores to massive leaps forward in accessibility - will reportedly start rolling out to Apple Retail Stores in the U.S. soon. Mark Gurman, 9to5Mac:

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.

iBeacon support launched as part of iOS 7. When paired with an updated Apple Store app for iOS, this new system sounds like it would basically help customers to appointments, informs them about workshops relevant to their interests, and provides information about the products they're perusing. While Smart Signs can provide some, static information when prompted, this new service sounds much smarter, verging on a virtual, networked, concierge.

Check out Gurman's piece via the link below then let me know what you think - looking forward to your computerized shopping future?

Source: 9to5Mac

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 29 comments. Add yours.

jproubique says:

I've been anxious to see I beacons work in real life and see how they correspond in a retail experience,or any experience for that matter. Do we know if all apple stores are using them?

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rtteachr says:

Just makes sense. If Apple is promoting iBeacons they should be using them themselves.

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iNitvizn says:

Also looking forward to seeing these in the real world. Could be pretty sweet for commerce, tours, monuments, etc...

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sir17reeder says:

This look pretty interesting I would like to see how it works.

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johncblandii says:

Where is the do not track option?

This makes me uncomfortable like a pesky salesman in my face at every corner. I assume Apple will do better to not tote the creepy line.

jproubique says:

Ibeacons run on bluetoothLE you could simply keep your Bluetooth off and tracking would not be possible

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johncblandii says:

I shouldn't have to. I may be on my headset.

johncblandii says:

So people have to uninstall the app to not use it? Bad experience.

I believe Apple will do right and allow it to turn on or off.

Rene Ritchie says:

Looks like it sends notifications via the app, which hopefully means you'll have the ability to turn the notifications off.

Dev from tipb says:

To your original point, that does not mean the tracking has ceased - the pesky salesman you mention may still be collecting information about your whereabouts, just not shouting offers back at you.

johncblandii says:

True. The creepiness line is at risk here for sure.

ScottyTheMenace says:

Absolutely agree. I'm tired of this trend toward creepy stalking in marketing and retail.

kataran says:

The era of the new shopping experience is upon us

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frankied22 says:

It will be interesting to see what Apple does with this.

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Rene Ritchie says:

I don't know. Here in Canada I pay for everything from gas to food using the NFC chip in my credit and debit cards. It's super convenient. Apple will need to get iBeacons into all the gas stations and stores in order for it to replace the already-installed NFC.

CD says:

In the US NFC is non-existent.

johncblandii says:

Incorrect. I see NFC more and more, especially in airport shops.

nadnosliw says:

I'm really interested to see where iBeacons will go. Having apple behind them in ways like this will hopefully boost their presence and uptake among developers.

Here is my ideal situation (as a GTD guy): a task manager that turns delegated users into beacons. I.e. I will get a reminder to follow up a task with the person I delegated it to when I am in the same physical location as them! That would be cool!

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Justin Thiel says:

Amazing. This could potentially change the way retail stores interact with consumers in the future. Apple keeps innovating and I love the direction they are moving in.

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Ides of Buster says:

I hope Apple truly sees the benefit of this technology as a way to enhance the customer retail experience in their stores, and not as an opportunity to reduce the number of employees.

Face time with a knowledgable human is preferable to having my iPhone spam me with stuff about which I have no interest. When I visit an Apple store, I want to look around and ask a question when I need assistance, rather than stare at my iPhone.

As the linked article stated, I can always turn it off if I don't like it.

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Rene Ritchie says:

Likewise. Apple Retail is really well staffed. Often more staff than other stores have customers. However, even with a ton of people on the floor, it can be hard to find one not already taking care of a customer.

iBeacons should enhance, not replace, the human staff.

Tujax says:

It will be interesting how micro-location is implemented in different venues.

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bradenbarker says:

Hopefully these are used for a quick payment system in the next few years. The sooner Apple takes over the world, the better. :)

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Lt_Solorna says:

NFC is not Dead-Dead, it is Mostly Dead. Trust me Miracle Max will come along and help it to survive.

asuperstarr says:

I can't wait to see this in action.

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BeyondtheTech says:

This will be like when Tom Cruise walked into the Gap in Minority Report. Instantly identify you and offer suggestions.

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