May make iBeacons more practical
Yesterday's iOS 7.1 update also made changes to the way iBeacons work, reports say. Previously, an iPhone could only pick up notifications from an iBeacon if it had a supporting app open or running in the background; now those messages will appear regardless if the phone has the right app installed and its iBeacon notifications enabled. Notifications are also said to be more responsive, for instance reacting instantly on leaving an iBeacon's broadcast area.
Future products will require Apple's blessing
iBeacons must now be certified under Apple's Made for iPhone (MFI) program to use the iBeacon name, reports say. While a number of third-party outfits have begun deploying iBeacons, they haven't necessarily had to cooperate with Apple to make use of the name or the official API. The terms of certification aren't public, since manufacturers are being asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Los Angeles, San Diego first non-test deployments
Major League Baseball has completed its first post-test iBeacon deployments at two stadiums, according to an announcement. 65 iBeacons have been put in place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. The league says that plans are underway to have over 20 parks outfitted by Opening Day; the main reason for the initial two stadiums is that the Padres are hosting the Dodgers on March 30th.
NFL begins limited deployment at Super Bowl
Beginning next week, Major League Baseball will be deploying "thousands" of iBeacons to ballparks around the US, a source claims. The organization is reportedly aiming to have 20 stadiums equipped with roughly 100 iBeacons each by Opening Day, which is at the end of March. These include the parks for Boston, Milwaukee, San Diego, San Francisco, and the LA Dodgers.
Could be used for mobile payments for gas, parking
Automatic's Link "smart driving assistant" has been issued a software update allowing it to operate as an iBeacon, reports say. The Link is normally just meant to help optimize a car's performance. With the update, though, the device should be able to both transmit and receive data from compatible devices within Bluetooth range, such as iPhones and iPads.
Apple technology could deliver information, advertising during event
A advertising and marketing trade publication has reported that soft drink giant Coca-Cola is looking into Apple's iBeacon, a short-range Bluetooth-powered messaging technology, as part of its major sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup. The iBeacon is a small, Bluetooth Low Energy-powered device usually planted on a wall that detects smartphone proximity and, with permission, can broadcast a message or alert -- be it informational or advertising -- as a notification on the device.
System aimed at small businesses
A company called Beaconic has announced the iBeacon Retail Kit, intended to make deploying Apple's iBeacon technology easier for retailers. The kit includes two or more Bluetooth 4.0 beacons and an online campaign manager. Each beacon has a two-year battery life, and a range up to 60 meters (197 feet). While iBeacon is designed for iPhones, Beaconic says it is also working on an Android app.
Competitor to Nest build Aura, iBeacon- and NFC-powered room monitors
Allure Energy, which makes a smart thermostat to compete against the better-known Nest, has used its presence at CES to show off a new add-on to its EverSense system that employs Apple's Bluetooth LE-powered iBeacon technology. The new product, Aura, lets users adjust room temperature by simply coming within range of the iBeacon, such as entering a given room, carrying an iOS device. The system will then adjust the temperature to a pre-determined range.
Initiative geared toward driving attendees to see more of the expo
The Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show will be hosting what is possibly the first iBeacon scavenger hunt, using official mobile apps for the exposition. Using the CES suite of apps for iOS or Android, show-goers will be able to collect virtual badges when the come in close proximity to one of the beacons on the show floor.
Nevertheless expects strong holiday sales
Wells Fargo Securities has downgraded its rating for Apple stock from "Outperform" to "Market Perform," a new memo to investors reveals. The firm says that its earlier, more optimistic forecast was based on an expanding profit margin, driven mainly by the iPhone 5s. "While we still have conviction in the gross margin thesis (and the potential for iPad/iPhone unit upside), we believe this may be largely embedded into the valuation," the memo comments. Share prices are still forecast to sit within the $536-581 range.
PFiddlesoft's UI Browser 2.4.1 fixes minor bugs
PFiddlesoft has announced the release of its updated UI Browser, which features minor bug fixes. UI Browser helps users explore, manipulate, and monitor the user interface of most OS X applications running on one's computer. Able to generate AppleScript statements to control any application using GUI Scripting, UI Browser can control applications that are not otherwise scriptable.
Bluetooth LE continues retail push
Less than a week after Apple began deploying its iBeacon technology inside US retail stores, Qualcomm has launched its own alternative. Known as Gimbal, Qualcomm's proximity beacons also take advantage of low-power Bluetooth LE to help retailers optimize their smartphone-enhanced shopping experience as customers move throughout a store.
Tech already supported in Apple Store iPhone app
Apple is today deploying iBeacons at all 254 of its US retail stores, according to the Associated Press. At the Fifth Avenue store in New York City alone, the company has 20 iBeacons; some of these are reportedly just iPhones and iPads, but, like regular iBeacons, can communicate with a visitor's iPhone as they walk around the store. To receive notifications a person needs to have Bluetooth enabled, and the latest version of the Apple Store iPhone app, which must be allowed access to location data and push notifications.
Will trigger alerts based on locations within a store
Macy's and Shopkick have announced plans to deploy the first retail use of iBeacons, an Apple technology supported through iOS 7. Within a few weeks at Macy's stores in Herald Square, New York and Union Square, San Francisco, users of the Shopkick app will occasionally receive alerts while visiting different departments. On first entering a store, for instance, the app may suggest a variety of deals and recommendations, but narrow down those alerts after wandering into the Shoes department.
iBeacon tech will allow for virtual 'signs'
Apple is working on two display initiatives for its retail stores, sources say. The first is the addition of special holiday decorations, in the form of LED snowflakes, which will surround window displays for the iPad Air and iPhone 5c. The decorations are expected to go up in many countries later this week, and stay in place through early January.