Up to this point, the term “iBeacon” has been used to describe just about any location-aware transmitter that can send data to a device over Bluetooth. But now it’s going to get harder for companies to market their products as iBeacons.
Apple is clamping down on its iBeacon trademark by adding specifications for the technology to its ‘Made for iPhone’ (MFi) program.
Including iBeacon in MFi gives Apple complete quality control over where the iBeacon name can be used. When a Bluetooth speaker maker wants to be approved by Apple, it has to go through the MFi program. And now the same process will be required for iBeacon.
BEEKn reported the news first today:
The specifications are available after signing an NDA. Applying to the program in order to register to carry the iBeacon name, we’re told, is free.
While we haven’t seen the specification (and wouldn’t be able to say anything if we had!) we’re told that there are no surprises: it conforms to what you’d generally expect of anydevice that broadcasts a Bluetooth LE signal.
Our own Mile Elgan has argued that iBeacons are going to “change everything” because of how easy they are to implement across different markets. Department stores like Macy’s have started using iBeacons to share promotions with customers, and Major League Baseball has implemented iBeacons in its stadiums.