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

(View all)
Avatar
89 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)
Avatar
89 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)
Avatar
89 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)
Avatar
89 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)
Avatar
89 months ago
Where's the opt-out button? I can't press it quick enough. LOL
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
89 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)

Top Stories

Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Tuesday September 22, 2020 3:25 pm PDT by
Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your Home Screen. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that M...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

New Version of Microsoft Office Coming Next Year That Won't Require a Subscription

Thursday September 24, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Microsoft will next year offer a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows that doesn't require a subscription to use, according to the software giant (via Windows Central). "Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021," said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the next version of its Exchange server,...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...

Apple Emphasizes That Solo Loop May Increase in Length Over Time, Updates Sizing Guide With More Specific Instructions

Wednesday September 23, 2020 8:26 am PDT by
Apple on Tuesday updated one of its support documents to emphasize that the new silicone rubber Solo Loop for the Apple Watch may increase in length over time, as mentioned in fine print at the bottom of the Solo Loop product page. Apple has also updated its printable Solo Loop sizing guide with more specific instructions, as noted by 9to5Mac's Michael Steeber. The guide now advises users to ...

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

Kuo: Mini-LED Displays to Debut in Apple's Next iPad Pro

Tuesday September 22, 2020 11:45 pm PDT by
Following his report earlier this week indicating that Apple will be accelerating adoption of mini-LED displays in its iPad and Mac notebook lineups thanks to better than expected development from potential secondary supplier Sanan Optoelectronics, analyst Ming-Chi has released a new report today sharing a bit more perspective on the mini-LED display market as it relates to Apple. Kuo says...