Just when we thought Apple was losing its magical touch, this article from Computerworld.Com surfaced on this fine Saturday, September 14th morning:
“Computerworld – Nearly a year and a half ago, I predicted that Apple was hatching a “secret plan to kill the cash register.” Now that plan has a name: It’s called iBeacons.
At the end of this column, I’m going to tell you a stunning fact about iBeacons. But first, let’s understand what Apple is hatching.
Apple cryptically introduced the iBeacons initiative at its developers conference in June, identifying the new technology as a feature of the iOS software developers kit (SDK).
In fact, iBeacons is a Bluetooth-based micro-locations system (think very accurate GPS that can be used indoors). But instead of being used by people to determine their own locations, it’s used by retailers, museums and businesses of all kinds to find out exactly where people are, so they can automatically serve up highly relevant interactions to customers’ phones.”
So, what does this all mean? Yes, I was confused at first as well but ComputerWorld lays it out quite nicely for all to envision. Here are the possibilities:
Stores reaching out and giving coupons and advertising to passersby on the sidewalk or in cars. E-Z Pass”-style building access — doors would unlock and open as authorized users approach. A more secure version of this might require a fingerprint scan on the iPhone. Far-more-accurate Passbook location-based alerts. Tour-guide features that could give specific, detailed information on a phone or tablet within a single museum or across an entire city (with iBeacons placed at the specific landmarks and attractions). Theme park family tracking, E-Z Pass-type access to rides and quick, wireless concessions sales. Navigation aids for sight-impaired or physically disabled users inside buildings. Self-service checkout. A customer could scan the labels on clothing, process the transaction on the phone, then stroll out of the store with purchases in hand (the alarm would be de-activated for those items).
This is way too cool and I, for one, am embracing it full on when it arrives. IBeacons Technology! Incredible!
In a nutshell, in the future, if you own an iPhone, you will receive automated coupons from stores based on your location, won’t have to stand in line, will be able to enable self-checkout via your iPhone and on and on it goes. Absolutely incredible.
So it appears that the iTouch Technology Apple introduced at their iPhone event on Tuesday, September 10th has far greater Implications than many of us could ever envision.
And, apparently, every ” iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s already supports iBeacons and everything iBeacons can offer — that’s probably about 200 million actively used phones (give or take 50 million), with Apple’s selling dozens of millions more per quarter”, says ComputerWorld.
I know that many of you would find this an infringement on your privacy but I am sure you will have the option to enable/disable iBeacons at your whim. Apple is all about privacy – always has been – so I have no doubt that your experience with iBeacons will be a secure one.
Bye bye cash registers! Hello self-checkout! Do you think that iBeacons will be Apple’s “Next Big Thing”?