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Apple proposes location-based iPhone home screens

post #1 of 29
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The iPhone could offer an automated home screen providing local weather, time, maps and contacts based on the device's location, according to a new patent application from Apple.

Revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office this week, Apple's filing dated Feb. 21, 2008 for "Transitional Data Sets" describes an invention that would display specific applications automatically populated based on dynamic factors like location. The application notes that conventional user interfaces on mobile devices are clunky and cluttered. The new invention would aim to cut down on the number of icons by giving users what they need at a particular moment in time.

In one example, the iPhone would utilize location-aware applications, and populate the home screen with those based on the city in which the user is currently located. Included pictures show an iPhone home screen with a "San Francisco" button, which would take the user to a location-aware screen on the device.

"The user can create a set of location-aware applications that can be populated by transitional data sets," the patent filing reads. "A transitional data set is a data set that can change based on the current location of the mobile device... as determined by a positioning technology (e.g., GPS, cell tower triangulation, Wi-Fi)."

In addition, the feature could change the icons of applications to represent the current location of the phone. The patent filing describes an icon showing the Golden Gate Bridge when the phone is in San Francisco, but that icon could change to an image of the New York City skyline when the phone is in the Big Apple.



The described system would allow users to save certain transitional data sets so they would automatically activate when the location of the phone has changed.

"If the user's home is in New York, then the user may configure a "weather" widget to display the weather in New York as a default," the filing reads, "and such default information can be persistent. If the user travels to San Francisco, the user can touch the "Here" button... and the "weather" widget will automatically display the weather for San Francisco... Thus each time the user travels to San Francisco, the location-aware mobile device... can automatically populate the "weather widget with transitional data associated with San Francisco."



According to other patent filings revealed this week, Apple has also investigated:

A speech to text feature, which would allow users to speak to a mobile device and have their words translated into text. The application states it could be used for composing e-mails, SMS messages, word processing, data entry, or instant messaging.

A method for transferring and scaling images between devices. For example, images from a computer sent for display on a TV would be scaled to display properly on the secondary device.

A follow-up to a patent application revealed by AppleInsider in June, in which Apple describes a wireless sensory system that aims to quantify actions or events that can currently be measured only qualitatively. These events would include the strength of a punch or what happened to a delivery package that caused its contents to break.

An event-based contact list. This would allow an organizer of an event to create a Web site on a server that would grant participants the ability to add and retrieve information from the site, including the sharing of contact information.
post #2 of 29
Nevermind.
post #3 of 29
Winterboard has had the weather feature since the beginning of time... -_-

Why does it take Apple so long to implement the most common sense of extremely useful features?
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

Winterboard has had the weather feature since the beginning of time... -_-

Why does it take Apple so long to implement the most common sense of extremely useful features?

Several reasons, I would say.

Apple wants to make sure that when they do add a feature, they do it in such a way that it integrates seamlessly with existing functionality, is discoverable by the user, and is easy to use.

Apple wants to make sure that any given feature, no matter how "common sense" it may strike some, is actually useful to many of its users. The kinds of things in vogue with the kinds of people who jail break their phones may not actually appeal to the majority of users.

Finally, Apple is militant about the above because the endless proliferation of "features" leads to exactly the kind of clutter and complexity that they built the iPhone to combat.

If all you care about are "features" and raw functionality, then it is actually not that hard to write app after app that do various cool things. Doing it in a way that integrates with the all-over user experience and is easy to implement and use is another matter entirely. Being extremely focused on the latter is what distinguishes Apple from their competition.
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post #5 of 29
Is this really even an ‘invention’?

All of these patents are getting ridiculous. Just about every website knows where you are based on IP (which isn’t fool proof) and targets its ads, news, weather accordingly. It’s nothing more than knowing your audience.

So what tech/invention does Apple bring to the human race with this?
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Several reasons, I would say.

Apple wants to make sure that when they do add a feature, they do it in such a way that it integrates seamlessly with existing functionality, is discoverable by the user, and is easy to use.

Apple wants to make sure that any given feature, no matter how "common sense" it may strike some, is actually useful to many of its users. The kinds of things in vogue with the kinds of people who jail break their phones may not actually appeal to the majority of users.

Finally, Apple is militant about the above because the endless proliferation of "features" leads to exactly the kind of clutter and complexity that they built the iPhone to combat.

If all you care about are "features" and raw functionality, then it is actually not that hard to write app after app that do various cool things. Doing it in a way that integrates with the all-over user experience and is easy to implement and use is another matter entirely. Being extremely focused on the latter is what distinguishes Apple from their competition.

I agree, Win Mobile is the perfect example of how a company can so botch the UI when trying to add notification features that it becomes almost unusable.

However, I was very surprised that Apple completely left out any sort of default home screen containing the ability to set a background & have some sort of overlay of most used info. That was the 1 thing I liked about my Bberry before is I had a theme that showed a summary of dates, e-mails, & weather (plus had a custom background, yes I'm petty

It'd be nice to see those things maybe become part of the unlock screen, with the option to turn them on & off of course.

Also, I really like the idea presented a while back of building a stacks feature into the bottom dock on the iphone. I think one reason Apple has the default screen be your first page of apps is just to give you quick access to more apps than just 4. Organization of apps on the iphone is simple to use, but still not the most useful.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmlxix View Post

Is this really even an ‘invention’?

All of these patents are getting ridiculous. Just about every website knows where you are based on IP (which isn’t fool proof) and targets its ads, news, weather accordingly. It’s nothing more than knowing your audience.

So what tech/invention does Apple bring to the human race with this?

IP addresses aren't as geolocatable when you're talking about a cell phone, and you're usually behind a huge NAT.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34

Why does it take Apple so long to implement the most common sense of extremely useful features?

They are imperfect. They are good, but sometimes they work on the wrong features. No excuses.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The iPhone could offer an automated home screen ...

The most important news here is that they are considering the use of a "home screen" at all.

Other than displaying the time the iPhone does not *have* a "home screen" and it's possibly the biggest missing feature relative to other smart phones and PDAs. An integrated home screen is one of the only ways in which other smart phones can be said to be 'better" than an iPhone. I will be immensely happy just to have the home screen .
post #10 of 29
How did they manage to patent such a commonplace?

Nice features, until now Apple haven't had good weather content provider, though. And not the best article title. It's all about geo-location awareness, not about locations as sets of environment variables.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

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post #11 of 29
Well its good but its really not a feature like what iphone users are seeking for....
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

IP addresses aren't as geolocatable when you're talking about a cell phone, and you're usually behind a huge NAT.


...which is why I said it isn't fool proof. But my point remains: is knowing something about your audience, and then accordingly targeting specific information to them based on that knowledge a legitimately patentable invention?
post #13 of 29
I love this concept, although I would certainly also like to see location-based power profiling...

ie.. if you are at the office, your Phone turns off Push Notifications, 3G Off, Wifi On, Silent Ringtone etc...

When you leave you then change to the mobile profile - 3G On, Push On, Wifi Off etc...

And then when you get home Wifi On, Push Off etc...

This would really be awesome, come on Apple!
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

How did they manage to patent such a commonplace?

Remember that patents aren't about the original idea (which aren't patentable) but the implementation. In this case Apple has created an implementation for mobile phones that uses location based profiling to show the user relevant data/applications stored on the device. This is very different from an advertiser using your IP location to show you an ad for "Sexy singles in (insert your town)". To mcmlxix, the idea of location based advertising isn't patented, but I'll bet you $20 that there are patents for software that examines the users IP address, looks up where they are in a domain directory, combines location with other collected data (possibly from third parties) and determines which ad to show based on the odds that you'll click on it.

While I'm ok with this idea, what I'd really love is if Apple implemented it such a way that the locked wallpaper screen shows your local weather, time, and maybe items from your calender. That would mean you don't have to open any apps to see those things, which are already stored on the phone (appointments, time) or can be easily updated at set intervals (weather).
post #15 of 29
Gee guys it took the ability to have a GPS or Cell tower location capability to make this work. Prior to those two technologies there was no way for the cell phone to know where it was.

Location base set up is old, There use to be an application on OS7 that allows you to reconfigure various thing about the mac like networking or default printers and the such base on your location, When it first came out you had to select your location and over time it got a little smarter and estimate you location based on whether you were on battery power or the network you were connect to.

I love that app, and use it all the time with my laptops.

I will like this feature on the iphone too when you travel, I hate that ever time I go to a new city I have to add a new city to the weather app, it should just know and do it. There are a few other apps that use your current location to provide you location based information, this is why the iphone is great.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Other than displaying the time the iPhone does not *have* a "home screen" and it's possibly the biggest missing feature relative to other smart phones and PDAs. An integrated home screen is one of the only ways in which other smart phones can be said to be 'better" than an iPhone. I will be immensely happy just to have the home screen .

Why do we need one? If something like that is implemented, I'd hope I have a choice not to use it, or that it is far more useful than other phone home screens. The value of having my favorite apps a touch away is more important to me, and I'll wager I'm far from alone on this. I'm glad Apple doesn't do things just because they're the norm, especially in a bass-ackwards industry like the mobile phone industry.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #17 of 29
Wow! Seems like the iPhone is only limited by the imagination of Apple's brain trust, engineers, PHD's, etc., which means it has no limits!

Say goodbye to having to carry 'snapshot' camera's, low end video cameras, GPS units, secondary iPods, voice recorders, Nike +, Travel guides, maps, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention all the attendant cables, pwr bricks, cases, etc,. that accompany the above mentioned gear.

I've stopped carrying my macbook because the iPhone does about 85% of what I did with it. One of the best additions recently to the iPhone was iDisk. Now I can fwd contracts, docs and reports via email without having to carry my laptop.

One of the features missing, though, on the iPhone is a built-in Flash for the camera. (Not Adobe's Flash)

PS. New iPod Touches will have a camera and Video camera!
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezekiahb View Post

I agree, Win Mobile is the perfect example of how a company can so botch the UI when trying to add notification features that it becomes almost unusable.

However, I was very surprised that Apple completely left out any sort of default home screen containing the ability to set a background & have some sort of overlay of most used info. That was the 1 thing I liked about my Bberry before is I had a theme that showed a summary of dates, e-mails, & weather (plus had a custom background, yes I'm petty

It'd be nice to see those things maybe become part of the unlock screen, with the option to turn them on & off of course.

Also, I really like the idea presented a while back of building a stacks feature into the bottom dock on the iphone. I think one reason Apple has the default screen be your first page of apps is just to give you quick access to more apps than just 4. Organization of apps on the iphone is simple to use, but still not the most useful.

Agreed. To me, the lack of a user customizable home screen with persistent notifications and info is one the iPhone's major lacks.

And, as per our discussion, the patent at hand suggests that Apple has been trying to figure out how to make such a feature especially useful before implementing it.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmlxix View Post

Is this really even an ‘invention’?

All of these patents are getting ridiculous. Just about every website knows where you are based on IP (which isn’t fool proof) and targets its ads, news, weather accordingly. It’s nothing more than knowing your audience.

So what tech/invention does Apple bring to the human race with this?

Hmmm. Not really seeing how IP aware advertising on computer networks is in any way similar to having a home screen on a cell phone that displays user info based on your location.

Other than both belonging to the so-broad-as-to-be-meaningless category of "software that uses certain conditions to influence data presentation."
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

Remember that patents aren't about the original idea (which aren't patentable) but the implementation.

Umm... Not quite. Patent Commissions differ in their preferences and rules. What you're saying is rather true for European Commission. No way to patent "method" here nowadays, technical proposals only, i.e. implementations, while in the US Office you still can apply with "method and apparatus".
Method is closer to an idea, than to an implementation. I have a patent (my employer helped me to fill the application). And because my application was rather about "method", we decided to apply in the US Office.

Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

I'll bet you $20 that there are patents for software that examines the users IP address, looks up where they are in a domain directory, combines location with other collected data (possibly from third parties) and determines which ad to show based on the odds that you'll click on it.

I won't wager on this, I second your point instead. Moreover, I'm quite sure the generic method of presenting data and providing services depending on user location should have already been patented, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

While I'm ok with this idea, what I'd really love is if Apple implemented it such a way that the locked wallpaper screen shows your local weather, time, and maybe items from your calender. That would mean you don't have to open any apps to see those things, which are already stored on the phone (appointments, time) or can be easily updated at set intervals (weather).

It must be some process running on the system, which draws wallpaper picture. As far as I understand their idea, they're gonna create system-wide server providing geo-location data to all apps, which desire to be clients and to use those.
One more thing, there are already implementations of the weather, time and other location dependent data on the home screen; N97, for instance. I don't think Apple will risk to copy Nokia in the least feature.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oh-es-Ten View Post

I love this concept, although I would certainly also like to see location-based power profiling...

ie.. if you are at the office, your Phone turns off Push Notifications, 3G Off, Wifi On, Silent Ringtone etc...

When you leave you then change to the mobile profile - 3G On, Push On, Wifi Off etc...

And then when you get home Wifi On, Push Off etc...

This would really be awesome, come on Apple!

And the ability to turn off the Passcode lock if you are at home, and back on when you go out would be fantastic!
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmlxix View Post

Is this really even an invention?

All of these patents are getting ridiculous. Just about every website knows where you are based on IP (which isnt fool proof) and targets its ads, news, weather accordingly. Its nothing more than knowing your audience.

So what tech/invention does Apple bring to the human race with this?

It's simply an implementation of convenient services for the user that are different from what you're talking about.

And if it's patentable, Apple should go ahead an patent it. In fact, they should patent as much as they possibly can.

It's for the benefit of the useer. Why the hell complain about it??
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

And if it's patentable, Apple should go ahead an patent it. In fact, they should patent as much as they possibly can.

I disagree. The whole patent system is overdue for complete redesign. Patents should only be awarded to really breakthrough ideas, not silly things that are so obvious that nowhere bothered to apply before. I guess the fee schema might work that fee doubles with each new patent application, so it gets pricey to try to patent every possible nonsense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

It's for the benefit of the useer. Why the hell complain about it??

What is the benefit for the user ? Patents only slow the progress.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Umm... Not quite. Patent Commissions differ in their preferences and rules. What you're saying is rather true for European Commission. No way to patent "method" here nowadays, technical proposals only, i.e. implementations, while in the US Office you still can apply with "method and apparatus".
Method is closer to an idea, than to an implementation. I have a patent (my employer helped me to fill the application). And because my application was rather about "method", we decided to apply in the US Office.

Actually, if you don't over extend my wording, I'm exactly correct. The idea is location based data discrimination/display, nothing to patent there. The method for achieving the idea (which is patentable in the US as you say) would be to use a GPS location receiver to tell the handset where on earth it is, use that to determine a zipcode, access a weather report for that zipcode from some source, and display it. The implementation is the actual code and protocols used and how the software/hardware are designed to make it happen. But really, the point is that others need to stop crying about what a self evidentiary idea this is and realize that Apple figured out a way of doing it and can make it happen, which is why they can get a patent.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainless View Post

I disagree. The whole patent system is overdue for complete redesign. Patents should only be awarded to really breakthrough ideas, not silly things that are so obvious that nowhere bothered to apply before. I guess the fee schema might work that fee doubles with each new patent application, so it gets pricey to try to patent every possible nonsense.



What is the benefit for the user ? Patents only slow the progress.

No, lazy, visionless also-rans (as in, the iPhone's competitors) slow the progress.

HTC, Nokia, Motorola . . . where were you all in 2007?? And it's two years later and you STILL can't get your ish together with something truly inspiring and desirable.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Agreed. To me, the lack of a user customizable home screen with persistent notifications and info is one the iPhone's major lacks.

And, as per our discussion, the patent at hand suggests that Apple has been trying to figure out how to make such a feature especially useful before implementing it.

I hope we can see that in 4.0.
post #27 of 29
This patent sounds much more interesting but sadly there is no information not even a link provided
Is the iPhone's CPU even capable of real time speech recognition?

PS: AppleInsider is only a news site? I am eager to know about what happened to the great Apple push notification system, does it work? A review would be nice. I also don't see a Snow Leopard review...
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by floccus View Post

Actually, if you don't over extend my wording, I'm exactly correct. The idea is location based data discrimination/display, nothing to patent there. The method for achieving the idea (which is patentable in the US as you say) would be to use a GPS location receiver to tell the handset where on earth it is, use that to determine a zipcode, access a weather report for that zipcode from some source, and display it. The implementation is the actual code and protocols used and how the software/hardware are designed to make it happen. But really, the point is that others need to stop crying about what a self evidentiary idea this is and realize that Apple figured out a way of doing it and can make it happen, which is why they can get a patent.

You're not exactly correct in above reasoning, but it's still OK.
Apple have indeed found their niche. They patent geo-location usage for mobile devices. So, it is perfectly possible, that no one did exactly this before.

P.S.
Related claims:
  1. US Patent 7512234 - Providing location data about a mobile entity (JP 10170625, Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 1998, No. 11, Sep. 30, 1998)
  2. United States Patent 6721406 Telephone caller location data retrieval
  3. MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, Feb 02 (MARKET WIRE) -- Quova, Inc., the leading provider of Internet geolocation data services, announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted the company a patent on a new method and system for identifying the geographical locations of Internet users.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Several reasons, I would say.

Apple wants to make sure that when they do add a feature, they do it in such a way that it integrates seamlessly with existing functionality, is discoverable by the user, and is easy to use.

Apple wants to make sure that any given feature, no matter how "common sense" it may strike some, is actually useful to many of its users. The kinds of things in vogue with the kinds of people who jail break their phones may not actually appeal to the majority of users.

Finally, Apple is militant about the above because the endless proliferation of "features" leads to exactly the kind of clutter and complexity that they built the iPhone to combat.

If all you care about are "features" and raw functionality, then it is actually not that hard to write app after app that do various cool things. Doing it in a way that integrates with the all-over user experience and is easy to implement and use is another matter entirely. Being extremely focused on the latter is what distinguishes Apple from their competition.

+1 excellent post. Really, the ultimate response.

I'll add that the location based "Home" screen does not sound appealing at all. I'd be pretty P'O'd if my home screen kept changing every time i unlocked it while driving across the state. Location based LOCK screen is what they should be researching. I like the idea of the wallpaper changing automatically to show various data. The wallpaper / lockscreen overlay could both be dynamic reports from various applications. Push notifications could scroll across the lockscreen, the wallpaper could show weather (maybe even radar), or traffic (maps), or RSS...

The Home Screen is the wrong place for Apple to be looking to customize. Lockscreen is where its AT. At the very least, I want to touch my Home Button, and be presented with enough info to decide if I need to slide to unlock, or not.
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