Apple iOS 8 could block mobile tracking in stores

Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) soon-to-be released operating system could throw a wrench into retailers' analytics programs by removing the ability to track shoppers by mobile device while inside stores.

The upcoming iOS 8's Wi-Fi scanning will use "random, locally administered MAC addresses," according to a presentation by Apple product and security executives at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

It's a departure from the current fixed 12-digit MAC addresses that identify users by handsets. Randomly issued addresses will keep retailers (and analytics companies) from compiling data about a single user's mobile activity while in stores.

This comes as Apple further cements its dominance in mobile. There's the iOS 8 upgrade, iBeacon gaining traction, the promise of new (and possibly larger-screen) iPhones, open access to Touch ID and HomeKit for the advancement of the Internet of Things.

And, of course, there's the long rumored and much anticipated iWatch. Apple has even been issued a patent for a weightlifting tracker system that would be a natural fit for a yet-to-be-released wearable, according to Apple Insider.

Apple likes for users to stay within its ecosystem, and with each new upgrade and product advancement users are more firmly locked in. IBeacons for use in-store could be one more way in which the technology company extends that ecosystem to commercial applications, by harvesting shopper data exclusively through iBeacons.

For more:
-See this MediaPost story
-See this Apple Insider post

Related stories:
Apple advances mobile payments with Touch ID
Apple to debut smart home platform based on iBeacon
Apple confirms Beats deal worth $3B
Biometrics, BLE help modernize POS systems
Apple is getting serious about mobile payments

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