Apple Stores fire up iBeacon to track you while you shop

Starting Friday, the iBeacon feature in iOS 7 is ready to be your personal shopper, and it won't be shy about saying you're due to upgrade that iPhone.

Roger Cheng/CNET

Apple's iBeacon will find its way to Apple Store customers on Friday.

Apple will start using the iBeacon feature built into iOS 7 to be a personal shopper for customers on Friday at its 254 stores across the US. As long as you have Apple's official Store app installed and allow the program to track your location, iBeacon can tell you about the products you're near in the store, and provide order updates that can be shared with sales staff on the floor.

One of the more interesting tools Apple has built into iBeacon is the ability to determine upgrade eligibility on the iPhone. When near an iPhone, Apple's app will see if you'd like to upgrade to the newer version. The app will also check upgrade eligibility to determine if it's a feasible move right now.

The Associated Press, which earlier reported on Apple's rollout, was given a look at the capabilities earlier this week. The news service said that Apple has installed iBeacon transmitters throughout its stores that can communicate with its software. Since the software is location- and context-aware, the app will provide shopping tips, product details, and other information, based on what you're near.

The iBeacon concept doesn't just begin and end with Apple. Major League Baseball, for example, has already signed on to the iBeacon concept .

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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