updated 04:20 pm EDT, Tue March 11, 2014
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 even if the app has been completely closed (assuming the user has granted permission for push notifications). Alerts are also said to be more responsive, for instance reacting instantly on leaving an iBeacon's broadcast area by ceasing any notifications.
The changes should make iBeacons more practical for both app developers and the companies deploying them. The idea behind the technology is to assist shoppers who have granted permission for iBeacon alerts from various merchants by providing instant coupons or offers, additional information on a specific item, or in the case of larger locations assist with navigation through the store, stadium, museum or wherever the iBeacons are deployed.