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Apple filings detail ID app, other potential iPhone enhancements

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
A half dozen new patent filings published this week from Apple detail various advancements that could find their way into future iPhones, such as a new "ID App" for identifying objects in a user's surroundings, an interface for managing outgoing voicemails, a method by which customers could receive new iPhones and iPod touches pre-populated with apps and media items they select, and more.

App for Identifying objects

One of the more interesting filings covers a new identification application apparently under development by Apple that would help identifying objects in a user's surroundings so that their iPhone can present additional information about the identified objects.

For example, today's iPhones are capable of taking a picture of art in a museum, but don't have the capability to provide the user with detailed information about the piece of art, such as the name of the painter or any other related information. Similarly, iPhones can snap pictures of structural items such as bridges and buildings, but not identify them.

Apple's solution calls for a new "ID App" that would automatically determine users' current environment and allow them to select from a list detection technology such as an RFID reader, a camera, or an IR image capture device. Based on the selected mode, the iPhone could then adjust parameters used for searching a remote identification database, or collection of databases.

"For example, if the user selects to identify an object in a 'MUSEUM' mode, the portable electronic device can search the identification database for objects that are commonly found in a museum," Apple says. "In some embodiments, the portable electronic device can determine the location of the user to help identify an object. For example, if the user is determined to be in Las Vegas and the portable electronic device is set to a 'RESTAURANT' mode, the device can limit the search of the identification database to restaurants in Las Vegas."

Meanwhile, objects out in the open such as bridges, buildings or landmarks could, be identified automatically based on GPS or other location services and the direction in which a user is holding their iPhone. Since iPhones are now capable of saving meta-data-based location information in photos, users could also use the ID App to obtain more detailed information on objects in photos that they've previously taken.

In response to detecting that an iPhone is being used in the dark, the ID App could activate an IR image capture device that is capable of detecting objects in darkness. As another example, if the iPhone detects active RFID tags broadcasting signals in a zoo, stadium or other venue, the iPhone could use a built-in RFID reader to detect objects.



Outgoing voice mail recording and playback

Another filings details methods for providing iPhone users with access to voicemails they may have previously sent out to recipients, not just those which are incoming.

"As individuals get busy and assume more responsibilities, they may often forget about messages they have sent to, or left with, other recipients. As a result, when a recipient attempts to get in touch with the sender in order to respond to a message, the sender may not recall the subject of the communication, especially when a message is left unattended for a prolonged period of time," Apple says. "Even worse, potentially, the message may go completely unaddressed whereby the recipient does not respond to the message at all and the sender forgets to follow up on his or her request."

As such, Apple proposes a system that will record and play back outgoing voice mail messages by recording an audio file corresponding to a voice message being left by a user during an outgoing telephone call to a recipient, linking the audio file to contact information associated with the recipient, and providing the user access to the audio file through, for example, playback of the audio included in the file.

Such systems and methods may be implemented through individual communications devices, such as an iPhone, through a telephone communications provider, or a combination of the same, the filing says.

Pre-populated iPhones

In a third filing, Apple notes that consumers cannot currently purchase media players, either in a physical store or via the Internet, that already include media items of interest. Instead, a consumer may generally have to obtain media items of interest and then subsequently transfer them to a media device.

Apple therefore proposes a system by which users can pre-select media items and applications they want on their device at the time of purchase. Tiny metadata files could then be included on the device when its being manufactured, or beamed to the devices immediately after a user opens and begins using them. The media items and applications could then be downloaded immediately to the device so that they're available to users within the first few minutes that they begin using the device.

Text messaging improvements

A couple of other filings detail improvements to an iPhone's text messaging capabilities. The first would allow parents to use parental controls to filter out objectionable content being transmitted to their child's device over text messages.

"The parental control application evaluates whether or not the communication contains approved text based on, for example, objective ratings criteria or a user's age or grade level, and, if unauthorized, prevents such text from being included in the text-based communication," Apple says. "If the control contains unauthorized text, the control application may alert the user, the administrator or other designated individuals of the presence of such text. The control application may require the user to replace the unauthorized text or may automatically delete the text or the entire communication."

The second filing covers a messaging application that can determine whether messages were successfully transmitted from the mobile device to one or more specified recipients. This messaging application would provide a user interface that allows the user to resend the message to those recipients who did not receive the message without them having to retype the entire message.

Lyrics contact sheet

Another filing describes a partially transparent sheet that can be overlaid on content displayed an iPhone or iPod touch. The sheet, which can be manipulated in response to user input, can, for example, include lyrics or other text associated with an audio file currently playing on the media player.
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

App for Identifying objects

One of the more interesting filings covers a new identification application apparently under development by Apple that would help identifying objects in a user's surroundings so that their iPhone can present additional information about the identified objects.

Right now I'd like to be able to use this technology to closer identify where the thief of my wife's iphone is. I got the street, and probably the house - apartment building, don't you know?. The police were totally uninterested so we had to do a remote wipe, but if I could use some of this technology remotely and the iphone could send me more detailed info about the lowlife who stole the phone - I'd welcome it. Pretty sure that's not the intended use for the new technology, though\
post #3 of 16
Snapping a photo in a museum is probably not allowed... Still cool idea.
post #4 of 16
I'm surprised you can patent something like this. Surely it is just an obvious extension of things that have been around for a while like Shazam and Snaptell.
post #5 of 16
Unless there's some other detail that was left out, the lyrics sheet already exists on the iPhone/iPod Touch.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Right now I'd like to be able to use this technology to closer identify where the thief of my wife's iphone is. I got the street, and probably the house - apartment building, don't you know?. The police were totally uninterested so we had to do a remote wipe, but if I could use some of this technology remotely and the iphone could send me more detailed info about the lowlife who stole the phone - I'd welcome it. Pretty sure that's not the intended use for the new technology, though\

Are you serious? Are you psychotic? Good grief.
post #7 of 16
omg htey better improve multiple recipient messaging, i got the new 3GS and had to send my number to everyone (bout 50 contacts) and because i have crap signal at home (1-0 bars) it kept failing and i kept re-sending only to find some people had received the message 4/5 times and others hadn't received at all x
post #8 of 16
Can somebody explain to me why the iPhone needs a built in RFID reader?

RFID has no place in American society or anywhere else.
post #9 of 16
I'd like to see  actually use one of their patents for once.
post #10 of 16
Where is the outrage? What happens when AT&T decides to take advantage of this and begins filtering/censoring/deleting your text messages based on what they deem inappropriate?

That would never happen right? Yeah keep telling yourself that. Here's that patent app that makes it possible ^
post #11 of 16
Object ID thing reminds of something I saw last year:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/09/09...on-the-iphone/

Pretty cool.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Are you serious? Are you psychotic? Good grief.

Explain to everyone what's so psychotic about a guy wanting to get his $300 phone back and return the second one he had to spend $600 to get. Better yet, what's so psychotic about having one less person inclined to take someone else's property?
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Are you serious? Are you psychotic? Good grief.

Serious not so much. Psychotic? I'm calming down but if I had met the guy who broke into my car and helped himself the day after the event he would more than likely claim that I was, and I may well have had to use it as my defense in court. So I guess, yeah, kinda.
post #14 of 16
The patent doesn't mention the term augmented reality - but it basically describes AR scenarios.
A significant body of research has been published in this domain over the past 10 years, and multiple applications have already delivered on these scenarios.

Is this patent application defendable?

See my post about this and judge for yourself at http://gamesalfresco.com/2009/07/09/...ented-reality/
post #15 of 16
Wasting time and money with patent lawyers for stupidity like this is why it only took years for the iPhone to have copy and paste. Perhaps in two years you'll be able to drag files onto an iPhone or have a today screen like Windows. But it will look pretty and be able to attach video files to your emails.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

I'd like to see Apple actually use one of their patents for once.

Yes.
I think Apple thinks about SO MANY possibilities that they never follow up - but their patents have become more about avoiding being sued for stuff in the future. The moment someone mentions it in a brainstorming session it's patented.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Right now I'd like to be able to use this technology to closer identify where the thief of my wife's iphone is. I got the street, and probably the house - apartment building, don't you know?. The police were totally uninterested so we had to do a remote wipe, but if I could use some of this technology remotely and the iphone could send me more detailed info about the lowlife who stole the phone - I'd welcome it. Pretty sure that's not the intended use for the new technology, though\

A friend of mine was given a lost iPhone - the night clubs policy is to collect lost items, keep them for claiming for 1 month, then give them to any staff who want them. If it was me, I'd simply sms a number on the favourites list and tell them to tell the owner of the phone where it was, but they get so many lost items and simply don't care about that.

All that said... I'd like my iPhone to protect itself better. I should be able to wipe it remotely while still messaging for its return. I'd like it to report to someone the phone number of the new SIM that gets put in the phone, or have it (or iTunes) report the iTunes username now associated with a reportedly stolen phone. I hear blackberries send a permanent block to the phone so no-one can ever use it... perhaps that would be useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skate71290 View Post

omg htey better improve multiple recipient messaging, i got the new 3GS and had to send my number to everyone (bout 50 contacts) and because i have crap signal at home (1-0 bars) it kept failing and i kept re-sending only to find some people had received the message 4/5 times and others hadn't received at all x

Yeah, bad reception is difficult, the phone successfully sends the message but doesn't successfully receive a confirmation - so it resends. It's a pity that the telco can't pick that it's the same message that was just sent.

Anyway, it's time to open things up with the telcos. Allow SMS, MMS, and VVM to go via wifi if it's available. Better still allow our voice calls (still via the Telco servers) over wifi if we want.

Well.. way off topic.
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