Major League Baseball will be using Apple's new iBeacon microlocation APIs in iOS 7 to enhance its MLB.com At the Ballpark app to create customized and interactive experiences for fans at its teams' stadiums, according to a new report by Mashable.
"We've been looking at customizing the app based on where you are within the stadium, but GPS is notorious for not working indoors, especially when you are in a building made of steel," Marc Abramson, iOS developer for MLB, told Mashable. "Instead, we are incorporating Apple's new Bluetooth and iBeacon technologies for iOS 7 and couldn't be more excited about the potential."
The app, which has reportedly been worked on by both MLB and Apple since February, would bring up a ballpark guide with information specific to the stadium you're visiting when you're near the stadium. As the user approaches the ballpark's gates, ticketing information would be pulled up by the app and instantly displayed. In addition, once a user was within the stadium the app would display directions to their seats.
Teams can also adjust the app to react to stadium-specific landmarks and points of interest. For instance, if a user were to use the app near the New York Mets' Citi Field's iconic apple statue the app would play a video detailing the history of the stadium or the apple.
User experiences won't be the same for each visit, notes Mashable. The app will include a loyalty card-like program where teams can choose to reward multiple visits with coupons for merchandise, food or beverages. It can also direct users to parts of the stadium they haven't yet activated, Abramson tells Mashable.
While the Mets are the first team on board with the new app and its technology, Abramson tells Mashable that a lot of other teams have "expressed interested". Although there is no official timetable for a launch, the report says that the program could "most likely" launch in 2014.
iBeacon was announced as one of the new 1,500 APIs in iOS 7 during Apple's WWDC keynote. They're designed to use the Bluetooth Low Energy profile for microlocation, allowing iOS devices to attain precise locations for apps in indoor environments rather than GPS.