Included in iOS 7 is a location technology known as “iBeacon.” This technology was designed for use in physical locations where different spaces might give off relevant signals. TidBITS explains it thusly:
…because the point of iBeacons is to help you find things — or, rather, to help your iOS device to find itself. iBeacons is the general name for a set of additions to the Core Location framework that developers can use when designing apps: it isn’t a new piece of hardware, nor a new app, but a capability. Apps can use iBeacons to answer the question “Where am I?” not in terms of a location on a map, like GPS does, but in terms of where the device is relative to another device. Specifically, where it is relative to another device acting as an iBeacon.
Apple has rolled the technology out to its US retail stores, according to the AP. This is just in time for the Holidays, which are historically an incredibly busy time for Apple’s stores. These location-based technologies are designed to accomplish a number of goals, including giving the customer a better experience, but also to get the customer in and out quicker, thus reducing wait times. The downside? Users have to be okay with their device being recognized in specific parts of a store, which could ultimately be used for advertising purposes.
The Apple store rollout is the first, though other venues have also confirmed that they will be using the technology. The MLB (Major League Baseball) has stated that it will be using iBeacon technology for the 2014 baseball season, as the individual teams push the Apple standard in to their stadiums.