Apple has acquired a patent that could allow a device to connect to different types of networks, all within a single device, specifically relating to paging. That’s paging, as in old-school pagers. You know, back in the mid-90’s when pagers were the hip thing to have. Pagers are still used in the medical industry and in non-cellular connected areas.
The patent that Apple has acquired could allow Apple to integrate an iOS device to be compatible with more than a single network infrastructure. Currently, pagers only connect to a single network, typically a cellular network. Apple’s patent could expand this to cover not just cellular, but also 3G, LTE, and even ad-hoc, or peer-to-peer, networks.
Within the medical industry it’s believed that cellular phones can disrupt sensitive medical equipment that could potentially have life-threatening consequences. For these types of areas, instead of carrying a cell phone, many doctors and medical personnel carry pagers so that they can to be notified when they are needed.
I have a couple of interesting theories about potential uses of this patent. The first is that it could be used to create an iPod touch that could receive Push Notifications, but not require a cellular data connection.
The second potential option is that Apple could make iOS specific devices for the medical industry that could allow them to charge subscriptions or premiums for hardware to be able to receive pages. This would be most useful in the medical community because then doctors could still receive pages on their iOS devices and potentially use Wi-Fi to be able to access any information that they might need to get off of the hospital network. In addition to the medical community, this could also be Apple’s shoehorn for providing devices for the US military.
The third possible use could just be for Apple only. Apple could build this into their test devices so that there could be no potential misappropriation of their physical hardware because the device would be entirely useless outside of Apple’s campus. I don’t mean devices that are for verification and testing, but early prototypes that Apple doesn’t want to leave their hands.
These are just some ideas. What are you ideas for how Apple could use a paging system?