Early Experiences with Apple Retail Store iBeacon Technology Prove Mixed

apple_store_app_ibeaconEarlier today, Apple launched its "iBeacon" initiative in its U.S. retail stores, allowing users of the company's iPhone app to opt in to receiving location-specific notifications and access to other information while browsing in the stores.

Following the announcement of the new system, ISI analyst Brian Marshall headed over to Apple's Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan for a first-hand look, and he came away with a "mixed-to-slightly negative" impression, failing to meet his expectations.

While the system conveniently notified Marshall while he was browsing accessories that he could use the EasyPay self-checkout feature of the iPhone app to automatically charge products up to $200 to his iTunes Store account, Marshall criticized several other aspects of Apple's iBeacon implementation.

We believe iBeacon will become an attractive marketing/sales tool over time, but were somewhat disappointed by the lack of functionality and customer experience on Day 1. Just as the company did with point-of-sale (PoS) purchase systems using iPhone/iPad in the past, AAPL will likely use its own stores to showcase the benefits/possibilities of the new technology going forward.

Among Marshall's specific complaints:

- Multiple identical notifications: When browsing iPhones in the store, a notification popped up offering to check upgrade eligibility. After checking his upgrade and trade-in situation, Marshall returned to browsing iPhones and a few minutes later the same upgrade notification popped up on his iPhone.

- Incomplete coverage: Marshall received no notifications for iPad or Mac products when standing at those stations, although he did receive additional iPhone upgrade eligibility notifications while browsing iPad and Mac.

Marshall also apparently hoped that the system would be used to offer special deals or promotions, but no such notifications were offered. As many customers already know, however, Apple's in-store deals are fairly rare and outside of special events like Black Friday are typically limited to third-party products such as printers.

With Apple's implementation of iBeacon only just now rolling out, there are certainly opportunities for improvements in the future, but some users may find themselves underwhelmed with the initial experience.

Top Rated Comments

crisss1205 Avatar
110 months ago
Marshall also apparently hoped that the system would be used to offer special deals or promotions, but no such notifications were offered.
So he was upset he didn't get a notification for a nonexistent promotion?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mknopp Avatar
110 months ago
So because one anal-yist had a bad experience in one store, on day one, it's immediately a bad product? I mean, just what were his expectations for it?

The article made clear a few of his expectations. The expectation of deals and discounts was just stupid.

However, anyone would expect to not be bombarded by the same pop-up time after time. I work in R&D. I know that no system is perfect and that you cannot account for every situation, but this isn't just a little thing. It seems to be a rather obvious point of failure for the system that should have been torture tested. Repeat acceptance/interference in a broadcast system, real or virtual, is a well known issue.

I hate to say this, but this is just another example of Apple's seemingly failing quality control department. This should have been tested and tested and tested. Instead, like too many of their products and service now a days they don't seem to test at all and release half-done products that they then try to fix in the field.

I can remember a time with Apple and its buyers derided firms like Google and Microsoft for this very thing. Now, Apple is joining them. Not a good thing for Apple at all.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jack Delgado Avatar
110 months ago
So what you're telling me is that in the event this kind of technology catches on, you physically won't even be able to run away from pop-ups.

Magical.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
eiuro Avatar
110 months ago
Nothing works perfectly on the first day of rolling it out especially so early in the day. This guys seems to want some attention. Over time iBeacons will work well.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shenan1982 Avatar
110 months ago
Where's the opt-out button? I can't press it quick enough. LOL
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radio Avatar
110 months ago
Apple rushing out a feature that doesn't work well?

How apple of them

Maps, iCloud, iOS 7, mobile me, etc
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
14 16 inch 2021 mbps back to back feature orange

Five Things You Still Can't Do With a MacBook Pro

Wednesday May 11, 2022 11:16 am PDT by
It's been over 200 days since Apple debuted its redesigned MacBook Pro lineup. Offered in 14-inch and 16-inch display sizes, the new-look MacBooks wowed Apple fans and creative pros alike with their powerful custom Apple silicon, mini-LED screen, and multiple connectivity options. But there are still some things you can't do with a MacBook Pro. Here are five features some Mac users are still...
apple mac ipad watch trade in

Apple Launches Limited-Time Bonus Trade-In Credit for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch in Many Countries

Wednesday May 11, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple has launched a special limited-time offer for iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad trade-in that offers customers additional credit when trading in their only device for a new one. The offer is being run in several countries including the US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, India, and France. In the UK, Apple is offering up to £50 of extra trade-in credit...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...