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Apple hasn’t yet shown off its own iBeacon hardware officially but now we have an idea of what it looks like, thanks to the FCC. 9to5 Mac found the iBeacon user manual on the FCC site Friday, showing a round beacon device that reminds me of a Nest thermostat. Apple’s iBeacon won’t check your temperature though; the device uses a low-energy Bluetooth radio for proximity.
You can see there isn’t much to the device: It’s a round piece of hardware with an [company]Apple[/company] logo on the front and a few bits on the back. There’s a microUSB port, for example, a threaded hold for wall-mounting, and LED light to indicate power and a switch. I wouldn’t expect the iBeacon to be that thick, but the image doesn’t show that measurement. The microUSB port is to recharge the iBeacon, according to the user manual.
Although retail locations can benefit from beacons, Apple’s iBeacon could have a big play a part in the company’s HomeKit platform announced last June.
HomeKit is aimed at putting the “smart” in smarthomes, allowing iOS 8 to control and use various connected devices such as webcams, climate controls, door locks and more. Adding iBeacon to that mix would potentially add advanced smarthome features because of the proximity factor. If an iBeacon knows you’re upstairs, for example, it could signal a dual-zone HVAC system to ignore the downstairs.
Note that there are several third-party beacons using Apple’s iBeacon technology already available. Many of them have started showing up in malls, fast food chains, department stores and even baseball stadiums. This particular device is Apple’s own, which hasn’t yet been officially announced with a price or availability date.