Apple turns on customer-tracking iBeacon

Dec. 7, 2013 at 3:21 PM
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CUPERTINO, Calif., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Technology giant Apple is tracking customers as they wander through U.S. Apple stores, the company has confirmed.

IDG News Service reported Saturday that any of the company's mobile products -- iPhones, iPads or iPod Touch devices -- can be used to monitor a customer's movement through a store, allowing Apple to send that consumer a targeted message.

The advantage, IDG News reported, is that Apple's monitoring system can send messages to customers when they pass by certain products. Walking past the iPhone display, for example, could result in a message sent to a customer describing the phone's features or a deal that is available.

The department store Nordstrom recently shelved a Wi-Fi-based system due to a negative reaction from consumers, the news service reported.

Apple said it is not retaining any consumer information picked up by the program, which is called iBeacon.

In a statement, Apple called attention to the potential of an iBeacon program that could provide "a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum, or product displays in stores."

The company said the program was not automatically activated. Owners of an Apple product have to use an application to give permission for their movement to be monitored in a store.

Apple operates 254 stores in the United States.

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