iBeacon: Apple's latest service spams iPhones

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iBeacon: Apple's latest service spams iPhones

Soon it won't be only the blue T-shirt-wearing staff you have to avoid in Apple Stores. The company is deploying so-called iBeacon devices in its retail outlets to ping shoppers' smartphones with special offers and other data.

The iBeacons - which are being rolled out in all of the company's US stores - are low-power Bluetooth transmitters designed to beam relevant information to customers.

Walk past a table containing the latest iPhones, for example, and you could be hit with an offer to upgrade, along with information about how much you could earn by trading in your current iPhone.

The iBeacons won't only be used for the hard sell. Customers who have already made a purchase will be sent an alert when their item is ready to collect, along with a security code that they must show to an assistant before the goods are handed over.

Thankfully, there are ways of avoiding the iBeacon alerts. Apple will seek permission before sending messages, and the device needs to have Bluetooth switched on and be running iOS 7 for the system to work.

It isn't only Apple devices that are using such technology. US retailers such as Macy's and JC Penney have already used a similar system to offer smartphone customers discounts while in store, provided they first download a companion app for their Android or Apple smartphones.

There's no indication if or when Apple will install iBeacons in its Australian stores.

This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk

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