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iBeacon launches in Apple Stores, badgers you as you shop

Apple's iBeacon is now live in Apple Stores in the US. It tracks you while you shop, and updates you on offers and deals.

Apple has launched a natty new feature that helps you while you shop in its stores. Or badgers you with pesky prods, depending on how you look at it.

It’s called iBeacon, and it aims to help you shop by tracking you as you traipse around the store. It'll give you updates on deals, and tell you whether you're eligible for an upgrade. It was actually part of iOS 7, though Apple has only just got round to rolling it out to its 254 stores in the US, the Associated Press reports, and it hasn't rolled out here in the UK yet.

Workers at the Apple Store on Regent Street were none the wiser. One of them told me on the phone: "We'll probably get [iBeacon] here at some point, they usually test out features in the US first, then bring them here." They added that Apple hadn't made any announcement to staff about iBeacon, or when it might come to the store.

iBeacon is very clever. It tracks you using Bluetooth transmitters, so it knows where you are in the Apple Store. Walk by the display of iPhones, and it'll ask if you want to upgrade, check if you're eligible, and tell you how much you could get for trading in your current handset.

If you find it annoying, you've only yourself to blame. To use it, you'll need to download the iBeacon app, and give it permission to send you notifications based on your location. You'll need Bluetooth turned on as well.

We'll soon see other companies use iBeacon, as well as similar forms of tracking tech. In the US, Major League Baseball plans to use it in stadiums next year to send fans vouchers to stalls nearby. It'll also trigger videos on fans' devices as they approach a certain part of the stadium.

It does raise some privacy issues though. How happy are you to have these companies track your every move? Could it be the whole Wi-Fi bins debacle again? Let me know in the comments, or track us over to our Facebook page.