Sep 202012
 

Apple patent application has iPhones text when calls don't reach spotty coverage areas

If you’re already using Android 4.0 or iOS 6, you’re likely familiar with the option to send a pre-made text reply to incoming calls you can’t take. Continue reading »

Aug 062010
 

Apple patent applications can be a little out there sometimes, but this one makes so much sense we have to wonder why it’s not a product already. Described as “Systems and Methods for Integrating a Portable Electronic Device with a Bicycle,” the application details what basically amounts to Nike+ for bikes. That includes the ability to relay data from bike sensors to your iPhone or iPod, which you’d be able to view on the device itself or on an external display of some sort — the application even goes so far as to mention the possibility of a heads-up display, although we wouldn’t get our hopes up for that. What’s more, the application also suggests that the system could communicate and share information with other nearby cyclists, and it would apparently include some fairly extensive GPS capabilities (on the iPhone, at least), including turn-by-turn directions to help you find a specific bike route, and maps complete with reviews from other cyclists.

[via engadget]

Mar 192010
 

03-18-10igroups

Apple patent applications are usually pretty dry, but it looks like a new one turned up by Patently Apple has a bit more user-focused meat to it — it describes a location-based social networking app called “iGroups,” which lets groups of people share data amongst themselves using a service like MobileMe. Once group members are identified and linked up, they can securely share information and users carrying devices without GPS-abilities will be able to triangulate their position using the positions of other GPS-enabled devices in the group. Of course, the actual patent itself is focused on the cryptographic key system that protects all the data, and we’re pretty sure the “iGroups” name is just a placeholder for now — we’d guess the developer of the iGroups app currently in the App Store hopes so too — so how this winds up in a shipping product is totally up in the air, but our interest in what iPhone OS 4.0 may hold has certainly been piqued once again.
[via engadget]

Feb 052010
 

patent-100204

Sharing your current location with a contact could be as simple as a button press in a future iPhone upgrade, according to a new Apple patent application revealed this week.

While the assisted GPS in the iPhone currently allows users to view their own location through the integrated Maps application, the described addition would make it simple and easy to share that data with someone else. The location data could be quickly shared with a person who is currently connected with a phone call, or with someone who was recently sent a text message.

The system would also allow users to actively send their location to another person, or to allow a user to request the location data of the other person, which would then require approval for security purposes. The information would be valuable to friends who are trying to meet, but do not know the whereabouts of each other.

“During an ongoing call, the second user may be prompted (by the second device) to authorize release of her current location information to the requesting first user,” the application reads. “Once authorization has been obtained (e.g., by the second user actuating a virtual or physical ‘OK’ button of the second device), the second device composes and sends a message to the first device that contains its current location information.”

The application notes that the invention would not require any modifications to existing cell phone network infrastructure, as long as both handsets feature a device-to-device location awareness application running while the user is in the midst of a phone call.

The location sharing system could also have a stored list of “trusted users,” who could access someone’s current location by default. This would bypass the user approval necessary with traditional users.

Once permission is received, the phone would automatically display a map with a marker noting the current location of the other device. The map would be wide enough to also show the user’s own location, and could provide the distance between the two, along with directions.

The application, entitled “Device-to-Device Location Awareness,” was first filed on Aug. 4, 2008. It is credited to Michael M. Lee, Justin Gregg and Chad G. Seguin.

Remotely tracking an iPhone’s location has been a feature of Apple’s handset since the iPhone OS 3.0 software update. With a subscription to the MobileMe service, users can activate the “Find My iPhone” feature if the unit is lost or stolen. Apple also added a Remote Wipe service that allows users to permanently delete all media and data on the iPhone, restoring it to factory settings in the event that the handset is lost or stolen.

[Via appleinsider.com]