Apple named to board of directors for NFC standards body
Apple has become a sponsor member in the NFC Forum association, which puts on the NFC World conference and is the leading trade organization for Near-Field Communication advancement. The group promotes and participates in other related technologies as well, such as QR, iBeacons, Bluetooth Low Energy, digital watermarks, augmented reality, biometrics, acoustics, bio-sensors, and light-based communications.
Some enterprise-level apps from Apple, IBM now offer Apple Watch support
On Thursday, Apple updated its enterprise app solutions web page to announce updates to some of the MobileFirst for iOS apps, developed in partnership with IBM, to offer Apple Watch support. Three of the 22 current MobileFirst apps -- Field Connect, Incident Aware, and Hospital RN -- now include Apple Watch versions of the apps, with push notifications, iBeacon support, notifications, and weather conditions, among other information available to front-line workers.
Apple Maps Connect adds five European countries, allows businesses to update listings
The expansion of Apple Maps Connect, a service that allows developers and business owners to manage and expand current Apple Maps listings, continues. Yesterday, the company added five more countries to its list of European nations able to use the service: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Sweden. The Maps Connect feature adds business and indoor information drawn from Apple Maps' iBeacon-based Indoor Mapping initiative to help businesses offer a more complete profile on themselves.
Fans who have app and notifications will get promos, reminders, more
Apple's iBeacon technology has been a quiet success with retail, though it is primarily considered to be still in testing. Nevertheless, it has been adopted by a number of businesses from clothiers to museums. While Major League Baseball has been an early adopter, other sports are also investigating their use. The Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, for example, can now send location-aware notices to fans who use the team's app.
Feature so far limited to iPhones, New York City
Facebook has introduced a new feature to its iPhone app, called Place Tips. These appear at the top of a News Feed while on the go; tapping on an entry expands it, and shows not just related posts and images from friends, but popular menu items and any upcoming events. Tips are triggered based on location tracking, and Facebook is currently testing them only in New York City areas, including Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty and JFK Airport.
Should trigger alerts via companies' iOS apps
Marsh Supermarkets and inMarket have announced a new iBeacon platform, the first to emphasize the Apple Watch. The plan is to use iBeacons at Marsh's 75 locations to push ads, shopping lists, and other content to both Watches and iPhones. Initially, the platform will support the official Marsh app and inMarket's List Ease, but other apps should follow as long as they support inMarket's Proximity SDK. All apps will have to update with Watch support, but the platform itself is Watch-ready.
Project gains Bluetooth LE beacon stickers, competes with iBeacon
Google's attempt to take on Apple's iBeacon platform has taken its first major step since its announcement in October, with the release of hardware compatible with the framework. Blesh, a Turkish company who already works with iBeacon hardware, is offering a bundle of Bluetooth beacons for use with the "Physical Web" project.
Demand may have pushed up schedule
A loyalty program for Apple Pay may be ready to go in time for the holidays, says Bank Innovation. Some retail sources had previously suggested this was unlikely, in part because of doubt about the prospects of a large shift in customer behavior happening right before the holiday season. Real-world market demand may be pushing up the timetable for a loyalty offering, however.
MFi gathering will brief companies on HomeKit, iBeacon, other tech
Apple will hold its annual Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad summit between November 12 and 14 this year in Shenzhen, China, according to an announcement. The event is intended to brief accessory and peripheral manufacturers. This year, Apple says that sessions will concentrate on HomeKit, iBeacon, AirPlay, and in-app purchases.
Apple technology will be used by Swirl, Motorola Solutions to deploy in Canadian, US stores
HBC Department Store Group, which owns both the Lord & Taylor and Hudson's Bay department store chain, has announced it will be using indoor iBeacons leveraging Apple technology, manufactured by Motorola Solutions and powered by software from Swirl Networks across more than 130 of the corporation's stores in Canada and the US. The move follows in the footsteps of Macy's, which did a similar deployment of iBeacons last November in stores in New York City and San Francisco.
Third-party companies previously made iBeacon devices, intent of device is unknown
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released documents on July 4 outlining a new device from Apple which point to a company-made iBeacon. The device was first spotted by router maker Securifi, which lists the new device seeking approval wireless certification from the FCC for the "Apple iBeacon." Previously, iBeacon hardware was only made by third-party manufacturers.
All-Star Game gets interactive content
Major League Baseball is entering into a second phase of iBeacon deployments at stadiums. Beginning this is project for the 2014 All-Star Game, which is being hosted at Target Field in Minneapolis. People with a supporting iPhone and the latest version of At the Ballpark will get extra content, including interactive material, when visiting nine different exhibits in the stadium. iBeacons are already in use at 28 other ballparks, but mostly for check-ins and discounts.
Deals with missing encryption for Mail attachments
(Updated with Apple TV news) Apple has released iOS 7.1.2 to the public via iTunes and over-the-air distribution. The update is only a maintenance release, solving several bugs. Most significantly, it solves a problem with iOS 7 failing to encrypt Mail attachments.
Low Bluetooth use may hurt practicallity of tech
The Golden State Warriors have become the first NBA team to deploy Apple's iBeacon technology at their stadium, the Oracle Arena, according to Bloomberg. At a recent game, some people who bought cheaper tickets received notifications on their phones, asking them if they wanted to pay extra to upgrade. Several dozen iBeacons have been installed by a company called Sonic Notify.
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.
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.