An original equipment application filed by Apple with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) is a very good indicator that the company is actively working on their first in-house hardware device –in this case, one that takes advantage of their location-aware iBeacon technology (labelled intuitively as ‘Apple iBeacon’).
The application contains a lot of details that wouldn’t mean much to the average person, but it seems rather legit. Carrying a model number of A1573, the device is indicated to work within an operating range between 2402MHz and 2480MHz with a peak working frequency of 2.4GHZ (in layman’s terms, this means it is on par with current Bluetooth protocol specifications).
So what’s it going to be used for? It is all guesses at this point, of course… but it seems like a reasonable assumption that it will work in tandem with the new iOS 8 HomeKit feature. Using the iBeacon platform (which was first released at Apple’s annual WWDC conference in 2013), any iOS device an become a temporarily discoverable beacon –meaning (in theory) that you could walk into your home and have the security system disarm automatically, enjoy the temperature and lighting adjusted to your preferences, and hear your favourite music playing over the sound system or have the television turned on and tuned to your favourite program.