Today, the United States’ Patent & Trademark Office filed a patent application from Apple. It details an application shoppers can use to communicate with friends about potential purchases through pictures, video, and comments. In addition, the app would allow users to check store inventories for product, which can then be put aside.

It Starts With a Kiosk

The application is part of a larger social network, one that begins with a “kiosk.” It appears as though the kiosk would be a physical fixture in-store, or inside a shopping plaza, so iPhone users could receive information identifying and recommending items of interest.

The store inventory checker and reservation system could allow users to cut down on shopping time, as potential purchases could be identified and held ahead of time. So instead of wandering around a two-story Anthropologie for that polka-dotted sundress, it would be ready for you to try-on in the fitting room.

Below is a graphic demonstrating the kiosk interface (click to enlarge):

Application Workflow

There are several potential methods for users to communicate with their friends about potential purchases. An illustrative display (as seen in FIG. 3, above) could identify an item with a photo, as well as a store ID and other pertinent information. Or, users can take their own photos or video to share with friends in the app’s network.

The purpose of sharing an item with friends is to receive feedback. For example, what if that polka-dot Anthropologie dress is cut unusually short? If a friend in your network can ping you with that info, she or he has saved you the time it would take to try it on (should you choose to take their advice, of course.) If you don’t end up purchasing the dress, one of your friends in-network could suggest another item for you.

The below graphic shows a potential interface design (FIG 4), feedback request (FIG 5), and reception of feedback (FIG 6):

“Put it on hold, please!”

Another feature of the social-networking/shopping app would be the ability to communicate with stores directly about potential purchases. Users could find stores with their item in stock, and have store employees put those items on reserve. This feature makes sense, as the ability to reserve iPhones is already available in Apple retail stores.

What do you think of this patent? Would you use the app? Let us know in the comments!

Article Via Patently Apple

Photo Credit: Patently Apple

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