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Via the Associated Press, Apple will begin using iBeacon technology across its 254 US retail stores starting today. The integration, first reported by 9to5Mac last month, will offer notifications about products, event and other information tailored to your current store. For example, walking to a display table about iPhones may automatically notify you about your upgrade availability and trade in options.

Apple demoed the technology to the Associated Press earlier in the week in New York City. Apple has setup over 20 iBeacon transmitters in its flagship 5th Avenue store. However, starting today, everyone can benefit from the update, as the Apple Store app has been updated silently from the server side. Customers in the US can sign up inside the app today …

Upon opening the Apple Store app, users will be asked whether they want to install In-Store notifications.

The Apple Store app says that enabling the feature will allow the app to send In-Store Notifications. This includes notifications about orders, product reviews about the items that you are currently looking at in the store and more. To receive iBeacon notifications, Bluetooth and Background App Refresh must be enabled.

After accepting the request, the app appears otherwise unchanged. Naturally, the feature only works when you are in the vicinity of an Apple Store that has added the iBeacon hardware. Additional notification settings do appear in the settings for the app though, allowing you to turn off the feature at a later date.

The app links to this Apple support page which shines more light on the iBeacon technology. Not all users are seeing the above screens. It seems to be rolling out gradually across the day to US users. There is currently no announced timeframe for when the technology will hit other parts of the world.

Thanks Alireza for the screenshots!

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8 Responses to “Apple rolling out iBeacons into Apple Stores, silent app update enables In-Store Notifications”

  1. Sounds nice.. but again proprietary stuff…. evil.

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    • Bluetooth LE is proprietary?

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      • I assume he’s referring to the beacons themselves. For instance, will an Android user walking into an Apple store receive the same information? I’m guessing no. Less incentive for stores to adopt this technology (along with mobile payments, etc.) if they have to install and/or support equipment for several different OS’s.

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      • Chris Murphy says:

        I’m pretty sure any modern smartphone with bluetooth LE support could read these “beacons”. Without a proper app to interpret the data, the information is pretty much useless. Because the beacons use Bluetooth LE to transmit, the burden of the “cool stuff” is left to software. There’s no reason why Macy’s or whatever company couldn’t simply create an iOS and Android app and use the same beacon hardware.

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    • Robert Nixon says:

      It’s not proprietary in the slightest, it’s just straight-up Bluetooth LE. Apple has nothing to do with the hardware, and there is already working software for Android, OS X and Windows that is compatible with iBeacon.

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  2. I like how it lists four supposed benefits from iBeacon, but they could easily be translated into:

    – pick up your online orders quicker
    – adverts
    – ads
    – more adverts

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