Apple’s brick and mortar stores are roundly believed to be partly responsible for the company’s meteoric rise from an almost-derelict company to the power house that it is today, but CEO Tim Cook and his retail team are not about to sit back and squander the opportunity that Apple Stores afford the technology company. As iOS 7 launched earlier this year, Apple also kicked another of its projects into gear, with iBeacon now a focus for the business.
Largely ignored during the iOS 7 and iPhone 5s/5c furore, iBeacon offers Apple and its partners a way to track iOS devices and then offer them information based on their proximity to points of interest. Those points of interest may be an Apple Store perhaps, or a sporting venue. Apple’s technology even allows for a more granular service, with specific stalls or statues able to trigger an alert on our iPhones as we walk past. With all this in mind, it doesn’t take a genius (see what we did there?) to see how Apple could make use of iBeacon in its retail outlets.
A new report from 9to5Mac suggests that Apple Stores in the United States could be set to receive iBeacons sooner rather than later, with Apple apparently stockpiling the devices in order to roll them out to their retail locations across the country. There’s no word on an international launch yet, and Apple may see its home turf as a good place to try out its new technology.
As the report notes, Apple may be about to use iBeacon as a way to offer us more information on our potential purchases just as we need it. Walking over to a row of iPhone cases on a shelf may trigger an alert on our iPhones or iPads that gives us more information on what we are looking at such as prices and features. Apple currently uses iPads as a way of giving this information to customers, but they are only in situ near things like iPads, iPhones and Macs. With iBeacon, Apple could offer a similar level of detail for things as mundane as Lightning cables.
Major League Baseball is already trialing iBeacon as a way of adding value for those that attend games, and if reports are true it should only be a matter of time before Apple puts its money where its mouth is by also giving iBeacon some air time.