Last Friday Apple launched a new feature to the Apple Store app: iBeacon. With help from Bluetooth and GPS the Apple Store will tell you exactly where you are in the Apple Store, and send you alerts that are meant to be helpful and relevant to your personal store experience.
Apps like iBeacon already exist for different stores. There are a variety of stores that have apps that track the user, and then send them notifications about good deals. Sometimes users are even offered special coupons. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case with iBeacon: Apple doesn’t give discounts, and that has not changed yet. Users that are already using iBeacon have complained that they are getting the same alerts multiple times. Alerts asking them to trade in their older iPhone, and other messages that don’t seem to be specific to the user.
However, the app has only just been launched, and Apple has made it clear that there will be more benefits to iBeacon than just repeat alerts. For example, iBeacon will notify you if you are eligible for an iPhone upgrade when you are walking in the Apple store. Another thing that iBeacon could do for the Apple Store, as well as the costumers is letting the costumers know how long they will have to wait until a genius is available.
Anyone with an Apple device and iOS 7 and over can make use of iBeacon, but users will only get alerts if they set their device so that it can receive iBeacon signals. No one will get in-store messages if they don’t choose to.
In short, it is not quite sure yet what kind of role iBeacon is going to play for users and the Apple Store. It is unlikely that Apple will start giving discounts in the foreseeable future, and the usefulness of the new feature is yet to be determined.