Apple is getting serious about location-aware mobile technologies

U.S. Patent No. 20090325603 – Apple GPS location sharing transmission

According to a new U.S. patent application by Apple Computers Inc., the company is preparing new location-aware technologies that would make using an iPhone (and probably the iPad) more efficient and social. According to this specific patent, location sharing will become a seamless process where users could effortlessly share their location directly from the call screen.

Users can already share their current location simply by finding their location in the Maps application, then sharing it via a few more additional taps. However, the current process requires somewhat too many taps and simply wouldn’t be as efficient as choosing to share your location from a single press while concurrently talking with your friend.

 The patent description (“Request and Release Info”) indicates users could request the location of their friends, giving the counter-party the option of accepting or ignoring the request.

More recently, there have been many indications Apple is pushing hard for location-based services. Last week, another located-based patent application by Apple hinted users would be able to receive automatic alerts and information based on their updated location. For example, users could easily see public transit schedules for modes of transportation available on the current street they’re standing on, including buses, trolleys, among other available public transit modes.

Last January, Apple acquired Quattro Wireless Inc., a mobile ad network, for $250 million. Apple is very likely to begin displaying advertisements based on your updated location. Apple recently issued a warning to developers warning them to provide only “beneficial information” to users in apps that utilize a users location, rather than primarily enabling advertisers to deliver targeted ads. If Apple decides to deliver its own mobile advertisements, it is possible the company could ban previously approved apps that serve nearly the same purpose. And as we already know, Apple is notorious for banning apps.

Despite the usefulness and potential of these technologies, there is no guarantee Apple will in fact incorporate any of them, at least probably not in the shorter-term in time for the next-generation iPhone (except for the location sharing feature via the call-screen) scheduled for a likely launch by this summer. However, Apple could implement the new features via a firmware update at a later time.

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Chris is a graduate from the Art’s program at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He is very passionate about photography and art. Write to [email protected]
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  • Shakreek

    I think the best way to share ur location now on a mobile is via BlackBerry Messenger. It finds your location very quickly, and displays the map directly in the chat box, no need to load anything up. Yet if you decide you need directions, u just click the map and again it immediately loads.

    Apple is far behind on this one…people with GSM blackberry phones can also do this while takling on the phone, although not directly from the call screen, but even that could be added very easily in the BB menu.

  • Jonathan

    does this mean Apple is going to beat Google in mobile advertising? Oh wait, nevermind….Google already has.

  • Oxy

    Oh apple.. you're behind on the times, once again.

  • Oxy

    Oh apple.. you’re behind on the times, once again.

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