FCC Filings Reveal Apple's First-Party iBeacon Hardware

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.

    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.

    Article Link: FCC Filings Reveal Apple's First-Party iBeacon Hardware
  2. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    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.
  3. Thunderstrike76, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2014

    macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2012
    I'm not sure I see a clear path for apple in the ibeacon home automation market. Not sure it will pay off in the long run, even though they are just now laying the ground work for it. Should be an interesting market in the next 5 to 10 years.
  4. macrumors 68020


    Jan 11, 2002
    Bay Area, Ca.
    Is that a microUSB port?!

    On an Apple device?
  5. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2011
    Apple TV has one.
  6. macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2010
    I'd get one just for the interaction possibilities with home equipment, or location-specific behavior. E.g., your phone autounlocks when it is within a certain distance of the iBeacon, etc. You could do this with GPS or WiFi but it'd be less accurate.

    If it's USB-powered, which is what the bottom port suggests, you could even install one in your car. (Ignore incoming txts, default to speakerphone, enable "Hey, Siri," etc., etc.)
  7. macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2012
    Sounds a little bit like NFC tags except that with those you have to touch the phone and you can have as many as you want in your car for different purposes.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 10, 2012
    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.
  9. macrumors 68000

    Oct 2, 2013
  10. macrumors 68020


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
  11. macrumors 68040

    Jul 18, 2011

    Not surprised. Ibeacon is one thing go you want to play nicely with as many devices as possible if you want to foster rapid adoption.
  12. robinp, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014

    macrumors 6502

    Feb 1, 2008
    Over 5 inches seems very big to me. How big are other ibeacons? I'm sure they are much smaller

    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!
  13. pedromcm.pm, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014

    macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2014
    Porto, Portugal

    Apple is really laying the foundations and infrastructure for some massive things. The future looks bright, and it is a great thing to see.

    Every move Apple makes now will have an immediate, massive, unstoppable impact on the consumer. Be it directly, or indirectly (through scared competition).

    Even rumors creates panic. Look how slim and "smart" OEMs tried to make TVs when rumors of Apple releasing one were hitting the web. Same with watches.

    The thing is, once they release one of these, it's game over from OEMs until they adapt the obvious, "new" google answer. Google is going to gain a lot just by going behind Apple. Who is there to save OEMs, if not Google?
  14. macrumors 601


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    5.46"? Perhaps all of these analysts have mixed up a 5.5" iPhone with a 5.5" iBeacon.
  15. macrumors 68020


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    The new iPhone is going to be a hockey puck?

  16. macrumors 601


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Yeah, just like a giant Microsoft Kin Turtle phone:

    Attached Files:

  17. macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    Already available for Android.

    Automatic Link is an iBeacon powered by OBDII port. The Apple just doesn't have API for an app to trigger silent mode.
  18. macrumors 604

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth

    what are the chances this will change from "first party" to "third party" ?

    I reckon this will sneak in sometime.
  19. macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2012
    From this description this sounds like its very similar to NFC/ RFID - except it uses Bluetooth frequencies. But doesn't Bluetooth require pairing?
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jan 18, 2008
    No Bluetooth doesn't require pairing for all operations. And the iBeacon uses one of the minimum spec pieces of bluetooth LE, non-directed, non-connectable advertising, which means technically an iBeacon doesn't even need to have a receiver, just a transmitter.

    Odd the way this has developed. When first announced at WWDC a couple of years ago it was stated the spec would be made available 'within a week or two'. In fact the spec was never made publicly available and ended up under Apple's MFi program, which is annoyingly hard, and not inexpensive, to join. That means you can't sell something as iBeacon compliant without Apple approving it either. Now Apple it seems is producing its own iBeacons which will put a dent in the fortunes of the companies which are trying to compete making them.

    Perhaps I understood the original intent at the WWDC talk incorrectly, but I thought this was originally supposed to be an open technology anyone could implement.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 10, 2012
    Given that a barrier to using the iPhone as a do all payment authentic stir will be the existing POS hardware infrastructure operated by credit card companies, might this device also double as a low-cost trojan entry to make payments via iPhone thru, or as an alternative to, the existing POS terminal infrastructure?

    If this is the case, Apple could afford to give them away just to build an Apple iphone+beacon based payment system as alternative to credit card based payment system.
  22. macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    POS systems aren't operated by credit card companies. If the phone+beacon process still ties back to the customer's credit card I doubt the cc companies would have an issue. I don't see a problem there since I doubt Apple is getting into banking anytime soon.
  23. macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2005
    Should be able it work it out from the size of the micro USB port. 5" is very big for an iBeacon. Estimotes are like 5cm
  24. 69Mustang, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2014

    macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    iBeacons... I got nothing. Right now the tech is in it's infancy so I'm sure something relevant will be coming. As it stands now:confused:
  25. macrumors 603


    Jan 8, 2009
    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.


    "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

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