4 Reasons Why Apple’s iBeacon Is About to Disrupt Interaction Design | Wired Design | Wired.com
When Apple first presented iBeacon to developers at their WWDC conference this summer, they used the example of an art museum. Instead of punching a three-digit number into a handheld tour guide, you could walk up to a painting, pull out your iPhone, and find additional information on the artwork right there waiting for you.
That’s neat if you like art museums. But undergirding that use case are several of the things that make iBeacon and Bluetooth LE so powerful. For one, the technology can pinpoint you–indoors or out–with an astonishing degree of accuracy. Multiple beacons can triangulate your position at distances anywhere from 100 feet down to just a few inches, heralding a new era of digital experiences based on “microlocation.” That ability to triangulate means museums won’t need to stick beacons next to every painting, they’d just need to put a handful in every room.
The other aspect the museum example illustrates is the passive nature of iBeacon. The protocol is designed so that all the triangulating happens constantly and quietly in the background. When you pull out your phone, the right content is there waiting for you. This immediacy is one big advantage Bluetooth now has over clunky predecessors like NFC and QR codes.
If you consider the retail advantage of sending offers to over 200 million iPhone users based upon precisely where they are standing inside a store, you suddenly understand why Apple placed a fingerprint scanner on the 5s. I can already purchase apps with my fingerprint, password-free. Buying non-Apple products with a single tap would be revolutionary. And fun.