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FCC Filings Reveal Apple's First-Party iBeacon Hardware

FCC filings discovered by electronics company Securifi (via TUAW) have revealed Apple's plans for first-party iBeacon hardware to go along with the microlocation technology found in iOS. The transmitter is registered as the "Apple iBeacon" and carries a model number of A1573, which is in line with the company's other products.

iBeacon_hw According to the documents filed by Apple, the iBeacon was tested in collaboration with China-based Audix Technology from April 30 to May 13, 2014. The beacon tested has a diameter of 5.46'' and has a highest working frequency of 2.4GHz, which is in line with modern Bluetooth standards.

Originally introduced at WWDC 2013, iBeacon technology enables iOS devices to communicate with transmitters through Bluetooth in order to deliver relevant information to apps and services when a user is nearby. Apple introduced a "Made for iPhone" iBeacon specification in February, signaling a more primary role for the technology in its devices and services.

So far, however, companies have used third-party transmitters, like the Estimote Beacon to work with the technology and iOS devices. Shopping app Shopkick and Macy's partnered during the holiday season last year to integrate the technology into stores, while Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association have used iBeacons to enhance live events.

Apple has also integrated iBeacons into its own retail stores to notify customers about picking up online orders and special upcoming events. Internationally, Virgin Atlantic integrated iBeacons into London's Heathrow Airport to notify users of promotional deals and areas of interest.

While it is unknown as to whether Apple will actually launch iBeacon hardware or not, the product could integrate with the company's other platforms and services. Apple's iBeacon could be the company's first product to integrate with its HomeKit initiative, which allows home automation devices and their apps to work with iOS.

It is likely that HomeKit integrated hardware would come further down the roadmap in Apple's future product lineup, as that lineup is expected to include the iWatch, perhaps a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air and a next-generation Apple TV.

Top Rated Comments

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23 weeks ago
So if Apple can release these very cheaply to business then we could really see iBeacon take off.

Apple really are trying to make their ecosystem one of a kind.
Rating: 4 Votes
23 weeks ago
Is that a microUSB port?!

On an Apple device?
Rating: 3 Votes
23 weeks ago
Over 5 inches seems very big to me. How big are other ibeacons? I'm sure they are much smaller

Edit
Actually, having looked more closely at the the drawing, the dims look to be in mm. Assuming that someone extrapolated these dims to work out 5.46 it seems most likely that it is 5.46cm which sounds much more like it!
Rating: 3 Votes
23 weeks ago

Is that a microUSB port?!

On an Apple device?


Apple TV has one.
Rating: 2 Votes
23 weeks ago

Virgin Atlantic integrated iBeacons into London's Heathrow Airport to notify users of promotional deals and areas of interest.


I love Virgin Atlantic (and America), but for the love of god why can't they produce a useful app? They seem ahead of other businesses in integrating technology well into their user experience, but that app has been a blight on the company's face for years now.

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Once Ibeacons proliferate and are ubiquitous, how, pray tell, will Apple prevent the iPhone from becoming a constant disturbing annoyance?

Because if it works at all, every vendor in a store is going to want their own Ibeacon.

Going to be interested to see how this develops.


"Good evening, John Anderton, have you driven a Lexus today"

"Hello, welcome back to the GAP, how were those tank tops?"

I'm finding a lot of what "Minority Report" suggested in future tech may be coming to a reality theatre near you.

Minority Report - Personal Advertising in the Future (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bXJ_obaiYQ)
Rating: 2 Votes
23 weeks ago

iBeacon to operate at 2.4ghz? Does no one at Apple see a problem with this? Not only does water resonate at this frequency to block any signal (think high humidity areas and outside venues where it may be foggy, sprinkle or rain), but a lot of businesses use internal comms and wifi modems on this frequency.

I would have picked anything other than 2.4ghz.


That's the frequency band bluetooth runs in, since the whole point of iBeacon is to use the ever-growing amount of BTLE hardware and software in phones, that's pretty much the only choice they had. If iBeacon had required another radio chip, with antenna, installed in devices, it was a non-starter.

Bluetooth is well-designed to work alongside WiFi, and other bluetooth devices sharing the same frequency band.
Rating: 2 Votes
23 weeks ago


While it is unknown as to whether Apple will actually launch iBeacon hardware or not, the product could integrate with the company's other platforms and services.


Ow, my brain hurts.

How about, "Whether Apple will actually launch iBeacon hardware is unknown, but the product could integrate with the company's other platforms and services."
Rating: 2 Votes
23 weeks ago
I would really like to see the iBeacon technology work in association with Hollywood Street Parking signs so it can tell me if it's safe to park or not:

Rating: 2 Votes
23 weeks ago

iBeacon to operate at 2.4ghz? Does no one at Apple see a problem with this? Not only does water resonate at this frequency to block any signal (think high humidity areas and outside venues where it may be foggy, sprinkle or rain), but a lot of businesses use internal comms and wifi modems on this frequency.

I would have picked anything other than 2.4ghz.


You are saying humid countries like Singapore, and San Francisco folks can't use BT headsets, keyboards and mouse ? What nonsense.




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Why would Google want to copy something so limited when they already have geo-fencing and pay pass built in? Both are more robust and don't need any additional hardware to be built, maintained, installed and paid for. iBeacon is another Maps failure in the making.


Geofencing is inferior to iBeacons, especially in indoor environments. It is decidedly less accurate. iOS has geofencing *and* iBeacon.

Pay pass is just a vertical use case compared to a horizontal platform like iBeacons.
Rating: 1 Votes
23 weeks ago

I don't know why, but lots of popular hardware use 2.4GHz. There must be some advantage, despite the possibility of noise from interference.


It's one of only a few ISM bands available for use, most of the rest of the spectrum is licensed. 2.4GHz is worldwide available, it's a high enough frequency for reasonably fast data transfer, but is low-enough that you get decent range at low power, higher frequencies travel less-far at the same power, bad for things like bluetooth low energy which cares about every joule of energy expended.

The two ISM bands below it aren't worldwide available (915MHz and 433.92MHz), so 2.4GHz, as long as it has good noise rejection, is a good choice for a world-operable device with a compromise of speed and power use.

801.11n WiFi makes the next band, 5.8GHz available for WiFi, the power issue is less critical for that and data transfer rates are higher. The next band after that is 24.125GHz which is quite a way away from current devices.

So 2.4GHz is kind of the go-to frequency for comms and the protocols are all built around dealing with the congested bands.
Rating: 1 Votes

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