Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch about how Apple could have 250 million iBeacon units by 2014.

Specifically, most of the coverage of iBeacons so far has failed to recognize a very important reality of this system: every iOS device since the iPhone 4s and iPad 3rd gen is already capable of being either an iBeacon receiver or transmitter, as long as it’s properly configured.

But some of the iBeacons deployed in Apple stores are not specialized hardware at all, they’re just regular iPads or iPhones that have been configured as iBeacons. And that capability extends to any Apple device with Bluetooth Low Energy and the latest major version of iOS. Let that sink in for a minute and you’ll start to realize the forward-thinking strategy Apple has been implementing over the course of the last few years.

Imagine using an iPad as an interactive display and an iBeacon.

“This would present a major advantage to Apple, as many businesses have already implemented these devices into some part of their business, so iBeacons could essentially be turned on all over the business landscape with just a little education and awareness,” Paul told us. “This would further the value of using tablets in retail, as they can both display and transmit messages to those who have displays in their pocket. Apple would widen the gap between themselves and other tablet manufactures, because now their existing hardware plays nicely with your iPhone or iPad and would require such close proximity to make a handshake. NFC has failed to provide this value as evident in the ISYS hardware rollouts that see little adoption.”

Apple will be able to scale micro-location services faster than any of its competitors, not that there are any competitors at the moment. With so many user and provider transmitters already in the hands of consumers, Apple would not have to worry about lack of adoption, unlike NFC.