Here's Apple Inc's Newest Innovation You Need to Know About

iBeacon isn't making headlines yet because the apps aren't available to leverage the technology. That's about to change.

Apr 2, 2014 at 8:30PM

Tim Cook has been blamed for not producing a steady stream of innovations for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) over the last two years but there is at least one new product that he should be getting credit for: iBeacon. While people seem to have been focused on the war between Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android operating system and iOS, this product seems to be flying under the radar. While there hasn't been a revolutionary Apple TV or recent computing paradigm shift, Apple has quietly released a tool that may lead to dramatic social innovations. Is iBeacon Apple's next great idea?

Google has been a dramatic innovator as it grew from a search engine into a video service, then moving into mobile operating systems and mobile applications like maps. The Google guys have covered a lot of ground while Apple was in transition. Google even got into shopping via its online service.  However, it has ignored bricks and mortar.  When you get under the covers of iBeacon, it's really a very powerful tool that can draw developers to iOS.  Initially iBeacon may seem like a product that allows faceless companies to track you like big brother as you walk through their stores. But if you keep your mind open to the possibilities, the same framework could be benevolent instead of Orwellian.

Mobile to Mortar isn't always creepy
Consider the convenience of walking into a grocery store and the shopping list on your phone triggers a personalized map showing the shelf locations of your items. You go from the supermarket to the pub to watch March Madness, and when you're ready to leave, you pay with your phone because the waitress is busy. Then, as you approach your car, the doors automatically unlock. This is the same back-end technology, but more friendly.

Proximity vs location
One new development is that beacons are based on proximity, not location. Since the technology doesn't need to find your longitude and latitude, just how close to an object you are, it can work indoors.

You might have experienced using an audio tour at a museum but then layer on security and bidirectional communication. iBeacon is a product that opens the door to system development, which could make our lives easier while increasing brand loyalty.

Some non-commerce examples include the Grand Rapids public museum setting up an electronic scavenger hunt, where students are prompted to answer questions about different displays. This is making the exhibits more engaging than having students simply wander through the facility.

This Friday, New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art will open an exhibit in conjunction with the United Nations that creates a virtual minefield. As museum attendees are challenged to make their way through an exhibit hall without triggering any mines. This exhibit was intended to bring awareness about an issue that affects many third world countries.

Applications will drive adoption
While the upcoming release of the iPhone 6 is likely to be considered the center point for near term innovation, it is a device that we expect to evolve. The technologies that drastically change our lives are often the ones sitting behind the scenes. Many times they are only discovered after a software layer is added to get the technology from being a toolkit to a product.

The real winner of the next smartphone evolution
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David Eller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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