From my experience, Apple stores are not exactly large or the type of place that you could get lost in. However, Apple is hoping that its iBeacon app will be able to guide people around its stores. iBeacon will guide people once they are inside of an Apple store, and will show them where various displays are as well as where they can pick up their order.
iBeacon is only one implementation of in-store tracking and, in general, businesses are trying to find ways to track people no matter where they are. In the near future, companies will be able to provide deals to people that are walking past their stores. But for now, iBeacon will simply help people that are already inside an Apple retail location.
The app itself is optional, which should alleviate some privacy concerns for people that have become unhappy with the idea of being tracked. In order for a user to receive notifications and alerts based upon their location within an Apple store, they must have the Store app downloaded, Bluetooth enabled, and iOS 7 installed.
Apple’s Store app already has some features outside of iBeacon which help people during their trip to an Apple retail store, but iBeacon will be taking all of the app’s current features to a new level.
For people that are still worried about privacy but would like to use iBeacon, an Apple spokesperson has already said that the app will not store user information and that iBeacon does not hold onto the tracking data.
To an extent, an app called Shopkick already provides many of these features for people entering a Macy’s or J.C. Penny, and micro-location tracking will likely continue to grow to the point where every store is sending out notifications regarding current deals and information on products that a user is looking at.
iBeacon actually has applications outside of Apple Stores and, according to a statement from earlier this year, Major League Baseball will be using the technology in order to guide people at ballparks.
Though it may not be storing information, iBeacon and the iPhone’s hardware is tied to a specific user, allowing a store to notify a customer if an order that they placed online is ready for pickup.