Major League Baseball this week showed off what developers can create using iOS 7’s new iBeacon feature, which basically allows the iPhone 4s and up to communicate with tiny Bluetooth LE sensors. The feature will more commonly be used for indoor mapping; MLB proved how useful iBeacon will be, say, to someone walking around a baseball stadium. In the future, if handled correctly, wider support could mean your iPhone will be your own personal tour guide around the world.
At Citi Field in New York, with the help of strategically placed sensors, the iPhone was able to keep track of where that user was walking throughout the stadium. These puzzle pieces gave the MLB at Bat app the ability to play videos when a visitor was near a specific spot in that stadium—imagine what museums can do with such technology, or even someone touring around a city, or at a National Park. In addition, proper development allowed the app to bring up discount coupons when users were near Citi Field’s merchandise shop, and even keep track of how often a user visited a particular shop to give them better savings if they were a loyal shopper.
Since iBeacon is such a young part of iOS 7, development is still underway in the MLB at Bat app; Starbucks, Macy’s and American Airlines are all apparently onboard to create future experiences around the technology. If Apple opens up its Touch ID in the future, imagine how iBeacon, fingerprint scanning and maybe even Passbook (which was overlooked this year at WWDC) can work together down the road. It sure looks like Apple has a nice little foundation for something bigger in the future.