Apple looking to make smartphones a little smarter in new patent

| Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Clearly smartphones aren’t smart enough for Apple’s standards. Given the computing power, and the inclusion of GPS in these devices, it’s still a bit of mystery why our devices aren’t a lot more intelligent when it comes to location awareness and plotting out our days.

Out for dinner and looking to catch a movie? Pretty soon you may be able to open up an application that’s smart enough to know where you are currently, based on your calendar information, and how close the closest movie theater is, along with potential start times. You won’t get stuck in traffic en route either, because the phone is smart enough to know how congested the freeway is on your way to that dinner date.

Apple filed a patent in 2009 that had a lot of these scenarios in mind.  While the patent is just now making it into the public light, we can certainly see where the future may lie with some of these apps Apple is working on.

Sure, there are a ton of movie theatre and film start time applications on the iPhone that do part of this already, but none of them integrate into iCal, at least that we’re aware of at this point. That’s mostly Apple’s fault, based on the APIs and tools they give developers, but until that bridge gets built a little better, it’s going to take someone like Apple to get this done. A patent has surfaced online that shows Apple is thinking about ways to integrate your location data with your real world needs. But, the patent also goes on to show us just how smart our smartphones could be moving forward: “in addition to showtimes and calendar conflicts, movies times and locations could be recommended based on current traffic conditions.”

Knowing where and what I’m doing, and then making recommendations based on my environment is something that may get a few privacy nuts up in arms. Heck maybe we can have another senate hearing on it, but for me, this has to be part of the future. There needs to be more cross application tie-ins on our smartphones. It makes no sense to have access to traffic or weather data in one application, but then have another application not be able to benefit from using that core information.

If iCal could utilize the information from traffic reports to get me to my meetings on time, or in this case the start of a film, then it could only be a good thing.

The iPhone, and the great apps out there are doing an excellent job of collecting real-world data for us (GoWalla, and FourSquare), but it would be exponentially more useful if other applications could make use of some of that data.

It’s time we start putting the smart back into smartphone.

A quick note on the patent. It was filed way back in 2009. Given the iOS 5 announcements, and the year the patent was filed, this probably isn’t something we’ll be seeing any time in the near future.  But, it is nice to know that Apple’s looking for ways to tie services together to make our devices a little more useful on a day-to-day basis.

Article Via AppleInsider
Photo Credit: olleeriksson (via iDesk)

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