Why Is Apple Making Its Own iBeacon Hardware?
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has developed its own iBeacon hardware product according to an application for certification made with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC filing was made on July 4 and was first highlighted by wireless router company Securifi in a tweet on Friday, according to a report from TUAW.
Apple first introduced its iBeacon technology as part of iOS 7’s SDK (software development kit) at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The micro-location technology uses the Bluetooth Low Energy communications standard to send notifications to mobile devices based on their proximity to a transmitter. Since the Bluetooth-based technology allows the system to more accurately pinpoint a user’s location than GPS can, it is well-suited for indoor navigation purposes, as well as targeted marketing.
However, the hardware for the iBeacon technology has so far only been provided by third-party manufacturers. For example, shopping app company Shopkick uses Apple’s iBeacon technology in small ShopBeacons that it has installed in Macy’s (NYSE:M) stores and other retail locations. The devices provide a personalized, interactive shopping experience for customers by transmitting information to users’ smartphones about nearby products or special offers based on their specific location.
Retailers aren’t the only businesses that have adopted the iBeacon technology. As recently reported by TechCrunch, Major League Baseball has also adopted Apple’s iBeacon technology and has already installed beacon systems in twenty-eight ballparks around the country. MLB uses the system as a check-in service for game attendees, as well as a way to deliver special offers and interactive features to fans.