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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:14 AM   #1
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Early Experiences with Apple Retail Store iBeacon Technology Prove Mixed




Earlier 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.
Quote:
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.


Article Link: Early Experiences with Apple Retail Store iBeacon Technology Prove Mixed
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:17 AM   #2
BC2009
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That initial experience does sound kinda underwhelming. Let's hope it gets better since Apple really should be showcasing what can be done. Though it is hard to showcase location-specific deals or offers when Apple Store hardly ever runs special offers.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:18 AM   #3
shenan1982
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Where's the opt-out button? I can't press it quick enough. LOL
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:18 AM   #4
eiuro
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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.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by eiuro View Post
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.
Didn't take long for it to make front page news here so I guess it worked.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
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?
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:21 AM   #7
Jack Delgado
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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.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:23 AM   #8
rickdollar
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You can buy something up to $200 with your iTunes account?
So if you buy iTunes gift cards at 20% off available at various retailers from time to time, you get 20% off your purchase.
That part sounds good to me.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:23 AM   #9
madsci954
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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?
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:24 AM   #10
macchiato2009
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this reminds of the iQueue system they tried to use during less than a year

it was such a pain in the a.s.s

managers forcing all employees to have an easypay and respond to iqueue signal within seconds...
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:25 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by madsci954 View Post
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?
I'm curious exactly what "deals" he was expecting to pop up on his phone in an Apple store.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:26 AM   #12
dumastudetto
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A few teething problems but these are exactly the kind of shopping experiences consumers want. And only Apple can deliver these experiences by controlling the hardware, software and the stores. Nobody else can do this.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:26 AM   #13
proline
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Obviously it will take time to figure out how to use ibeacon effectively. However, this author's vision- that it should constantly spam you with special offer notifications (advertising) for every single product line as you walk around is seriously flawed. I want it to be used for navigation (to help me find things on my list that I actually want) as well as contextual information that I can CHOOSE to access (in the app, not by notifications). I don't think Apple is doing this right either, with their multiple upgrade notifications and such, but what the author seems to want would be even worse.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:28 AM   #14
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I think it's a fair review, and I'm a huge fan of iBeacon and Bluetooth LE in general. They have some quirks to work out. Duplicated pop-ups IS annoying. And I'm sure functionality will expand over time, and get better, this is DAY ONE after all. I'm excited to try it out next time I'm at an Apple Store though!
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:29 AM   #15
proline
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Originally Posted by shenan1982 View Post
Where's the opt-out button? I can't press it quick enough. LOL
This is done through location services which can be enabled or disabled for each app.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jack Delgado View Post
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.
Amen. Zero interest here. Wait, I mean negative interest here.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madsci954 View Post
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.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:32 AM   #18
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Speed of detection

I am most curious about how quickly the app recognizes an iBeacon.

In my own iOS 7 tests using my own devices, I found ranging was sometimes slow to register as averages seem to constantly be taking place. Meaning I could be standing on top of a beacon and it might take 5-10 seconds before it's recognized as being close enough and to fire a notification/custom UI based upon that beacon's broadcast information.

If the response time is quick - then I think it's a huge win. If it's slow, one could lose an opportunity to drive home to users that the technology is accurate and robust.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:33 AM   #19
proline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2009 View Post
That initial experience does sound kinda underwhelming. Let's hope it gets better since Apple really should be showcasing what can be done. Though it is hard to showcase location-specific deals or offers when Apple Store hardly ever runs special offers.
You got it right in your second sentence, dead wrong in your first- the Apple store is NOT the place where ibeacon will reach its potential. Ibeacon will be good for navigation (Apple stores are too small to need that for the most part), contextual product info (Apple stores have iPads that already do this well), and analytics (tracking traffic patterns and such- Apple has no need for this either). The business of using it to spam popups is probably the worst possible use for it- that will probably be big off the start and then get reigned in as users react by deleting the offending store's whole app.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Delgado View Post
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.
You can turn it off in location services, or keep Bluetooth off.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:40 AM   #21
Parasprite
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Originally Posted by rickdollar View Post
You can buy something up to $200 with your iTunes account?
So if you buy iTunes gift cards at 20% off available at various retailers from time to time, you get 20% off your purchase.
That part sounds good to me.
You can also do that by shopping online, which may or may not also save you sales tax.

But really what's the fun in that; I'd rather go to an Apple Store!
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:40 AM   #22
madsci954
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mknopp View Post
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.
Far point, but I too work in R&D and I can't shake the fact that this is ONE analysist in ONE apple store on day ONE. There isn't enough data for a report IMO. You can have a trillion dollars in R&D and there will still be launch hiccups, it's bound to happen.

What if the repeat notifications were limited to this store only? What if the analysit's phone was gliching? Again, it's one person from one store that bothers me about this article.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:42 AM   #23
nzalog
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What does all this crap have to do with iBacon? Seriously you guys are ruining the magic of bacon with all this talking.
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:43 AM   #24
GQB
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Originally Posted by eiuro View Post
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.
It isn't perfect on day 1! CLOSE IT DOWN!
(Oh yeah, that only applies to Obamacare site.)
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Old Dec 6, 2013, 11:52 AM   #25
Boatboy24
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"We believe iBeacon will become an attractive marketing/sales tool over time"

Who is "we"? I didn't realize he brought a team of testers with him.
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