SXSW Festival using iBeacons for interactive sessions, speedy badge pickup through iOS app

SXSW-appOn top of the many uses for iBeacons we’ve seen in retail environments, event organizers are another group that have started taking advantage of Apple’s new Bluetooth tech recently. The MLB is deploying them in stadiums to send notifications to baseball fans, CES hosted an iBeacon scavenger hunt this year, and today we’ve found out the upcoming SXSW festival where Apple is hosting its latest iTunes Festival will also be using the technology.

Eventbase, the company that has been building the official SXSW festival app for a few years now reached out to let us know it will be deploying some iBeacons around the event this year to improve the experience. Specifically, it will be using the technology to “help attendees in Austin pick up their badge faster and get more involved in the sessions they attend.” One feature in the app will allow for real-time audience interaction during sessions: Read more

Moga shows off its first Bluetooth Made-for-iPhone game controller ahead of official launch

Moga-MFi-iOS-BT-controller

Moga, the company behind one of the first Made-for-iPhone game controllers, today announced that it will soon unveil its next controller for iOS devices. It also sent over the image above that gives us some clues about what to expect. Unlike the Moga Ace Power controller that we reviewed back in December, the new controller appears to utilize Apple’s non-form fitting controller design which essentially makes it closer to a standard Bluetooth controller. If you compare the design to Moga’s other Bluetooth controllers for mobile devices, it also looks like the middle of the controller might fold out to form a stand for iOS devices.  Read more

Review: Bose Soundlink III portable Bluetooth speaker — is bigger best?

Bose-SoundlinkIII

I was a huge gushing fan of the Bose Soundlink Mini when I reviewed it this summer, calling it the “Best Sounding portable Bluetooth speaker ever”. For $199 you’d get bookshelf type of power and clarity with 6 hour battery in a portable package that you could throw in a coat pocket, bag, or purse.

This week, Bose started shipping a bigger version, the $299 Soundlink 3 which is officially the successor to the Soundlink 2 but it grabs a lot more technology, features and appearance from the very successful Mini.  The big bro ‘III’ boasts an impressive 14-hour battery, 6 Bluetooth device memory, and doubles the Mini with four drivers and two passive radiators. In the process it doubles in size to a 3-pound package that isn’t nearly as portable as the Mini at 5 inches high, 10 inches wide, and 2 inches deep.

But does that $100 and double size give you appreciably better sound?

Read more

Tim Cook as good as confirms mobile payment via Touch ID on the way

touchid

When Touch ID was first rumored, there had been much speculation about whether the iPhone 5s would act as an electronic wallet, with payments to retailers authorized by fingerprint. While that hasn’t yet happened, it does now seem clear that it’s on the way.

Asked about mobile payments during yesterday’s earnings call, CEO Tim Cook gave what is, in Apple terms, a surprisingly direct response.

The mobile payments area in general is one we’ve been intrigued with. It was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID [...] it’s a big opportunity …  Read more

iPhone-controlled hotel door locks will allow guests to bypass check-in

aloft

Guests at two boutique hotels in Manhattan and Cupertino will soon be able to skip the check-in desk and go directly to their room, using an iPhone app to unlock the door. The WSJ reports that the Aloft Hotel will launch the new service this quarter.

Guests at these properties will receive a message on a Starwood app containing a virtual key, which will unlock the door with a tap or twist of their phone through the use of Bluetooth technology. The company says the iPhone 4s or newer models and the Android phones running 4.3 or newer will be compatible …  Read more

Beaconic announces availability of first Retail iBeacon Kits for Europe

Beaconic-iBeacon-retail-kit

We’ve seen Apple’s new iBeacon technology in use at several retail stores and events here in North America— Apple Stores, Macy’s, CES, MLB— but adoption of the new Bluetooth low power technology has been slower overseas. Beaconic aims to change that with a new iBeacon Retail Kit that will make it easier for businesses in Europe to deploy the technology. The concept of iBeacons is simple: As you walk around retail stores or other locations, your iOS device will communicate with iBeacons in proximity and display notifications, promotions, payment options, or other info setup by whoever deployed the nearby beacons. Beaconic’s new Retail Kit will make it easier for small businesses to get setup and track usage, and its software is available in several languages: Read more