Developers have discovered a feature in the iOS 8 beta that uses location to surface relevant apps on the lock screen.
When Apple's iBeacon technology detects users are at certain locations, those users' lock screens will feature the icon of a related app--even if it's not installed locally on the device. For example, if a user is at a Starbucks, he or she will notice the coffee chain's app icon at the bottom left of the lock screen, opposite the quick-access camera icon. It appears that swiping up on the icon will open the app if it's installed on the device. If it's not installed on the device, it will take users to the App Store so they can download it.
AppleInsider ran its own test in New York City, albeit with buggy results (emphasis ours):
When we neared the store, a small transparent Apple Store app icon appeared in the bottom left corner of the lock screen, directly opposite the Camera access slider. Swiping up on the icon caused our device to freeze, though the fact that the asset is there shows Apple is working on something quite novel.
Another test at a Starbucks location, which is piloting iBeacon technology at various outlets around the country, invoked an App Store icon. Swiping up took us to the iOS App Store, though the page it directed to would not load.
MacRumors notes that the iOS 8 release notes say that devices can recommend relevant apps on the lock screen if location services are turned on. Developers have thus far reported seeing Starbucks, Apple Store, and Costco app icons on the lock screen.
[Image: Flickr user Nicolas Raymond]