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Apple begins using iBeacons at all its 254 US retail stores

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Apple on Friday will launch its iBeacon wireless short-range technology at all 254 retail stores the company owns across the U.S., helping customers to shop for new items, or pick up an order they've already placed.

iBeacon


The iBeacon feature is already baked into the official Apple Store application for iOS, and will be unlocked for users visiting a retail location starting today. The company demonstrated the technology this week to the Associated Press at its flagship Fifth Avenue store in the heart of New York City.

At the famous "cube" store, Apple has 20 iBeacon transmitters installed to help guide customers. Some of the transmitters are apparently just iPhones and iPads that communicate with users' devices as they walk about the store.

"The beacons can be adjusted to specific distances, so you may get some notifications regardless of where you are inside," the report said. "Others will come only when you are standing at a particular aisle, wall or product demo table. The store can also send out notifications about deals or upcoming events."

Apple apparently has high hopes for iBeacons, giving reporters possible future uses such as providing information on subway train delays, or offering access to in-depth information on art pieces in a museum.

In order to test iBeacons at an Apple retail location, users must have the official Apple Store app installed, and they must have Bluetooth enabled. Users must also allow the app to access their iPhone's location data, and for the app to send them push notifications. Upon entering a store, the app will switch to an "in-store mode."

Friday's rollout is the largest application of iBeacon technology yet, though it is not the first. Macy's began testing the state-of-the-art Bluetooth-based location system last month at its New York City and San Francisco locations through a third-party app called Shopkick, providing customers with product information and special discounts.

This week, a startup digital publishing company called Exact Editions announced it is utilizing iBeacons to provide users with free access to paid Newsstand applications, allowing users to sample magazines and newspapers when they visit a specific location. And Major League Baseball has already announced plans to roll out iBeacon support at its parks starting next season.
post #2 of 19
It is good for their customers. Nice!
post #3 of 19
Awesome, going to our Apple store tonight. Wife dropped her iPhone and broke the screen, need to get it replaced. Cant wait to try out beacons when we get there.
post #4 of 19
What. The wife or the iphone?
post #5 of 19
I think Apple's use of iBeacons in their own stores is a very good move from both a business and PR view. Who better than Apple to put their best foot forward? There will only be upsides for Apple Store customers with no obvious privacy issues evident.
Edited by Gatorguy - 12/6/13 at 6:17am
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #6 of 19
Oh, noes! Big brother is watching you and tracking your every move.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Oh, noes! Big brother is watching you and tracking your every move.

In your case, I am on Big Brother's side. /s
post #8 of 19

This all comes down to trust.

 

An article came out about Nordstroms watching people's wireless-IDs as they walked through the store, JUST to see where people clustered, what displays attracted attention, which ones were ignored, etc.  [What used to be a paid position by real people btw].

 

Didn't like it.

 

Apple does somewhat-similar stuff.


Like it.


Trust.

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Oh, noes! Big brother is watching you and tracking your every move.

Thankfully, Apple first asks for your permission BEFORE tracking you. "Big brother" tends to not care about getting your permission before tracking you!
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Oh, noes! Big brother is watching you and tracking your every move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aelegg View Post

This all comes down to trust.

An article came out about Nordstroms watching people's wireless-IDs as they walked through the store, JUST to see where people clustered, what displays attracted attention, which ones were ignored, etc.  [What used to be a paid position by real people btw].

Didn't like it.

Apple does somewhat-similar stuff.


Like it.


Trust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Oh, noes! Big brother is watching you and tracking your every move.

Thankfully, Apple first asks for your permission BEFORE tracking you. "Big brother" tends to not care about getting your permission before tracking you!


Quote:
Apple, however, told the AP that it doesn’t collect any info about the shoppers in its stores via iBeacons, which could mean that it’s using this mainly as a way of dogfooding – showing other retailers how the technology might be useful when implemented in a ‘best practices’ kind of way.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/06/apple-ibeacons-u-s-retail-apple-store/
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post #11 of 19

Looks interesting. But won't be as good as the completely different system Samsung will likely release after Christmas...

 

/s

post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by asterion View Post

 

“No, your honor, if you’ll direct your attention to exhibit A, you can clearly see that our icon uses different colors and shows a representation of a larger, sturdier base from which the signal originates. Much more safe than Apple’s little stick.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by aelegg View Post

This all comes down to trust.

An article came out about Nordstroms watching people's wireless-IDs as they walked through the store, JUST to see where people clustered, what displays attracted attention, which ones were ignored, etc.  [What used to be a paid position by real people btw].

Didn't like it.

Apple does somewhat-similar stuff.


Like it.


Trust.

I agree. I'd trust Apple, most particularly in their own stores, when it comes to potential privacy issues much more than various 3rd party data brokers and marketeers I've never heard of. Unfortunately it will be those 3rd parties making the greatest use of Beacons and they may not have the same scruples as Apple, nor are they required to follow Apple privacy practices.
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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Location tracking does raise privacy worries.

 

Quote:
But consumers often agree to be tracked in exchange for discounts.

 

The article states both these points twice.

 

Quote:
Walking by an iPhone table? You may get a message asking if you want to upgrade, check your upgrade availability and see if you can get money for trading in your old phone.

 

YUCK! This feature is clearly not meant for me. Thank God it's optional. Even if we've no Apple stores here in Ireland yet. I'm presuming we will someday :rolleyes:

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #15 of 19
And surprise, surprise, MacRumors already has a front page story up from someone who had mixed results and came away with a mixed to negative reaction. I'm sure by the end of the day CNBC will be reporting on this and som Wall Street analyst will be ripping on Apple for not providing a completely flawless experience on day 1 of implementation.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Quote:
Location tracking does raise privacy worries.
Quote:
But consumers often agree to be tracked in exchange for discounts.

The article states both these points twice.
Quote:
Walking by an iPhone table? You may get a message asking if you want to upgrade, check your upgrade availability and see if you can get money for trading in your old phone.

YUCK! This feature is clearly not meant for me. Thank God it's optional. Even if we've no Apple stores here in Ireland yet. I'm presuming we will someday 1rolleyes.gif

I don't know about your country...

I live in California where the state sells personal information gathered from individuals.

So if you want complete privacy:
  • don't drive
  • don't vote
  • don't use banks
  • don't use credit
  • don't use store loyalty programs
  • don't use store lay-away programs
  • don't bank
  • don't invest
  • don't rent or own a home
  • don't pay taxes
  • don't go to school
  • don't use utilities (Water, Gas, Electricity, Garbage, Sewerage)
  • don't receive retirement benefits
  • don't use insurance
  • don't use emergency services (Ambulance, Fire, etc).
  • don't receive medical care
  • don't subscribe to cable TV
  • don't subscribe to the Internet
  • don't use a phone, tablet or computer
  • don't travel or leave the country
  • don't rent a hotel room
  • probably a lot more don'ts

I guess that means that you pay cash for everything, sleep in the park, wash in public restrooms and stew in your own juices. When/If you smell OK, you can probably hang out in your local pub, though...

FWIW, it was 27º F last night in the San Francisco East Bay area
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
"He who laughs, lasts!" - Mary Pettibone Poole -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
"He who laughs, lasts!" - Mary Pettibone Poole -
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post #17 of 19

One step closer to that Minority Report.

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

Reply

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

Reply
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

And surprise, surprise, MacRumors already has a front page story up from someone who had mixed results and came away with a mixed to negative reaction. I'm sure by the end of the day CNBC will be reporting on this and som Wall Street analyst will be ripping on Apple for not providing a completely flawless experience on day 1 of implementation.
Quote:
Among Marshall's specific complaints:

- Multiple identical notifications: When browsing iPhones in the store, a notification popped up offering to check upgrade eligibility. After checking his upgrade and trade-in situation, Marshall returned to browsing iPhones and a few minutes later the same upgrade notification popped up on his iPhone.

- Incomplete coverage: Marshall received no notifications for iPad or Mac products when standing at those stations, although he did receive additional iPhone upgrade eligibility notifications while browsing iPad and Mac.

Marshall also apparently hoped that the system would be used to offer special deals or promotions, but no such notifications were offered. As many customers already know, however, Apple's in-store deals are fairly rare and outside of special events like Black Friday are typically limited to third-party products such as printers.


The first item is a bug/mis-implementation of the App running on the iPhone. The App should log the notifications it has received and not repeat them.

The second item could be:
  • no iBeacons deployed in the iPad, Mac areas.
  • improper setup of those iBeacons (Major and Minor IDs) identifying the unique area of the store
  • iBeacon malfunction, e.g. weak signal
  • Bug in th App on the iPhone

iBeacon placement, setup, testing and maintenance is an emerging expertise... Give it a chance!


For the third item:
Quote:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn't see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door...

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away...
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
"He who laughs, lasts!" - Mary Pettibone Poole -
Reply
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -
"He who laughs, lasts!" - Mary Pettibone Poole -
Reply
post #19 of 19

While useful for things like the customer requesting help from a salesperson, I don't understand what information this is going to give you while browsing in an Apple Store that you wouldn't already know by looking at the displays.    Depending upon how Apple (or other retailers) choose to use it, this could be incredibly annoying.     Can you imagine walking down a supermarket aisle and having such a thing constantly annoying you with buying suggestions and coupons?    Or, if you once bought a baby gift, having the thing annoy you with buying suggestions for infants every time you walk into a department store?     

 

Also, there should be two permission levels:   one to make it active when I'm in the store to send me push notifications and another as to whether I would permit Apple (or any retailer) to save information about what I'm doing in the store.   I do not want to be individually tracked.    I don't want a retailer to track how many times I've entered this store.    Etc.  (I have no problem with a company merging my buying patterns with millions of other people to generate analysis, etc. as long as I can't ever be personally identified).  

 

I realize in our society, it's impossible not to be tracked at all, but just because we can't stop all tracking doesn't mean we should give up and permit all tracking.    While I realize that I'm tracked somewhat via credit card purchases, I purposely don't use any loyalty cards because I don't want any single retailer tracking my purchases directly.  

 

And I'm hoping that sometime within the next few years, Congress comes to its senses and starts heavily restricting what information the NSA can capture about us.    IMO, it should be very close to nothing and for any information that they are permitted to keep, if a person is not associated with terrorism within some time period, say 24 months, then all previous information about that person should be destroyed.         

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