Apple is set to start pushing what it believes will be the future of retail shopping today as iBeacon goes live in all its 254 U.S. stores. The technology, part of iOS 7, works with low-power Bluetooth transmitters and the Apple Store app to track your location within a store and provide relevant information to your phone.
Provided you give Apple permission to track you within the App Store app, standing next to an iPhone table could prompt a message asking if you'd like to upgrade your iPhone, all while checking your eligibility and whether you can get money for trading in your old phone. Another example involves a push notification alerting customers when an order is ready to be picked up alongside an order number to show the clerk.
Apple demonstrated the technology to The Associated Press this week at its busy, 24-hour Fifth Avenue store in NYC. The company has installed about 20 iBeacon transmitters at this store, some of which are simply iPhones and iPads, and each can be adjusted to specific distances so only relevant stuff comes up.
iBeacon is not limited to Apple devices or Apple retail stores. In fact, smaller scale deployments are already live at Macy's, J.C. Penney and other stores to present customers with discounts -- again, provided they have the companion app and opt-in to the service. Android devices with Bluetooth 4.0 and Android 4.3 or later are also compatible -- although not within Apple Stores, obviously, since there's no Android Apple Store app.
The transmitters inside stores (or beacons) come in a number of different formats, including small coin cell powered devices and USB sticks, and can reportedly pinpoint your location down to within 15 meters.
The iPhone 5C replaces the iPhone 5 with nearly identical tech specs, a plastic-based exterior and 5 color choices, a first in the iPhone family. The 5C features the same 4" Retina display, A6 CPU, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, a new front-facing FaceTime HD camera with better low light support, dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, a higher capacity battery and support for more LTE bands.
The iPhone 5s is the Apple’s latest flagship handset. The iPhone 5s is powered by a first of its kind 64-bit A7 processor and the same 4" Retina display as its predecessor. It also includes a fingerprint reader dubbed Touch ID, HD video capture at 720p at 120FPS that can also perform slow motion at 120FPS. Battery life on the iPhone 5s is rated for 10 hours of 3G talk time, LTE browsing, Wi-Fi browsing and video.
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