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Apple's location-based dock concept has unique profiles for home, work, car

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Apple has shown interest in a new location-based docking system that would dynamically change the interface and settings of a portable device for different activities like working or driving a car.

The concept was revealed this week in a new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled "Location-Based Dock for a Computing Device." Discovered by AppleInsider, the proposed invention notes that while docking stations are typically passive devices, these described docks would take on a more active role.

"It is often left to the user to configure the computing device for use at different locations by accessing or selecting the proper software applications and security measures for the computing device..." the application reads. "However, such configuration of the device may be both time-consuming and confusing to a non-sophisticated user."

Apple's idea could apply to any portable device, whether it be a MacBook, an iPhone or an iPad. Each docking station would, when coupled with the appropriate portable computing device, recognize its location and allow the user to operate the device accordingly.

For example, an iPhone plugged into a moving car could automatically become optimized for use through voice control, as a user driving would not be able to operate the touchscreen.

For someone who uses the same hardware both at home and at the office, a system could automatically be reconfigured to offer the best of both worlds. For example, while at work, a docked system would access work-related e-mails and calendar entries, while at home the device would switch to personal e-mail and calendars.



Apple's concept also extends to other docking ideas, including one meant to be used while watching television, or another that would have a device act as a digital picture frame while docked.

The location-based element could allow the settings to change based on the physical location of the hardware. In this method, if a user were to have only one docking station, they could use it both at work and at home and the appropriate settings would be implemented

And while location could play an important role in each docking station, Apple's concept also notes that settings could be tied to a particular dock regardless of its location. For example, a user could have two or more docking stations at a single location, allowing them to use them for different computing configurations.

The patent application is credited to Nicholas Vincent King, Aleksandar Pance and Brett Bilbrey. It was first filed on New Years Eve in 2009.
post #2 of 42
I've been waiting for something like this for a long time.
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post #3 of 42
It would be better if it were 'network aware' if I'm at work, show only so and so apps. If I'm at school, show me these, you get the idea.
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

It would be better if it were 'network aware' if I'm at work, show only so and so apps. If I'm at school, show me these, you get the idea.

One way to know a location is by the network you are on so that's a possibility.

One thing I want is for my email and app push notifications to turn off when I'm at home as I'd be using my home PC for email and the like.
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post #5 of 42
I'm all for anything that will disable hand-held devices while operating a car. Your lack of time management skills doesn't give you the right to put other people's lives in jeopardy.

Maybe they could add software to the iPhone that would auto-detect, through GPS that the unit was moving at 65 mph, and just shut the damn thing down.

Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe. Before I could react, the driver swerved around me into the right lane, and came barreling by at perhaps 80 mph -- when I glanced over, the driver had an iPhone up to their face, in one hand, texting away with their thumb. They proceeded to tailgate the car in front of me for as long as they both stayed in sight -- I slowed down to get away from the accident waiting to happen. I see this All. The. Time.

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post #6 of 42
Just wondering. I know that Google employees are allowed to work about 20% of their
company time on different projects of their liking. Some of those come out to be neat stuff.
But how does it work for Apple employees?
Recently, there has been a ton of very interesting ideas being patented.
I am sure that as great as S. Jobs brain is. He can't be the directing spirit here.
Anyone know how these projects come about?

Appreciate anyone's comments.
post #7 of 42
It will quickly become another of those Apple things that once you've had you wonder how you ever lived without it. The 'walled garden' just keeps getting better.
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post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by juandl View Post

Just wondering. I know that Google employees are allowed to work about 20% of their
company time on different projects of their liking. Some of those come out to be neat stuff.
But how does it work for Apple employees?
Recently, there has been a ton of very interesting ideas being patented.
I am sure that as great as S. Jobs brain is. He can't be the directing spirit here.
Anyone know how these projects come about?

Appreciate anyone's comments.

Well, they'll kill me for telling you this, you've read about the bots that take over millions of PCs and work in collaboration as a huge ultra-super computer ....
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Use duckduckgo.com with Safari, not Google Search
Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
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post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris v View Post

I'm all for anything that will disable hand-held devices while operating a car. Your lack of time management skills doesn't give you the right to put other people's lives in jeopardy.

Maybe they could add software to the iPhone that would auto-detect, through GPS that the unit was moving at 65 mph, and just shut the damn thing down.

Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe. Before I could react, the driver swerved around me into the right lane, and came barreling by at perhaps 80 mph -- when I glanced over, the driver had an iPhone up to their face, in one hand, texting away with their thumb. They proceeded to tailgate the car in front of me for as long as they both stayed in sight -- I slowed down to get away from the accident waiting to happen. I see this All. The. Time.

Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.

I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::
post #10 of 42
There's already location-aware applications that adjust your phone profile so that calls, texts, alerts, etc can be automatically handled differently at home than at work for instance. Apple's idea here is to move it from a software-only solution to one that uses hardware as part of the equation.

Makes sense for Apple since they make their primary living from contracting and reselling hardware, and very little from an app developer's offering.
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post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has shown interest in a new location-based docking system that would dynamically change the interface and settings of a portable device for different activities like working or driving a car....

I'm sorry, I know we are supposed to adore all things Apple but this sounds impractical and kind of dumb to me. The only real use it has is maybe in the car, but it seems like overkill for that situation. I don't see this catching on at all.
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I'm sorry, I know we are supposed to adore all things Apple but this sounds impractical and kind of dumb to me. The only real use it has is maybe in the car, but it seems like overkill for that situation. I don't see this catching on at all.

Can you explain your point further? Perhaps some examples as to why this is dumb?
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post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable.

I've been using this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DRBT50-St...9442495&sr=8-1
It's quite comfortable and liberating compared to traditional phone holding. I'd be careful to leave one of the ears off when in traffic though.

Keep in mind that there are studies that show the people that are most confident in their multitasking abilities are very often the worst at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

There's already location-aware applications that adjust your phone profile so that calls, texts, alerts, etc can be automatically handled differently at home than at work for instance. Apple's idea here is to move it from a software-only solution to one that uses hardware as part of the equation.

Makes sense for Apple since they make their primary living from contracting and reselling hardware, and very little from an app developer's offering.

A serialized dock connector can work into that system, as well as wireless networks. I can see the complexity getting out of hand very quickly though.
post #14 of 42
I think a software based solution would be better than having multiple location aware docks. I can't see people buying an additional 2 or 3 docks (especially if they were sold for $49) for their iOS devices just to put in different places.

A software solution that identifies location through the network and changes the behavior of the devices accordingly would be great.
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I've been waiting for something like this for a long time.

So has Phil Collins.
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.

I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::

Yes, you are looking ahead, but your attention is divided between looking at the road and paying attention to the traffic that is around you, and holding the phone to your ear and paying attention to the sound in that one ear next to your phone, and processing what is being said on the phone and formulating your answer to what is being said on the phone. If you concentrate a little or a lot on the phone call, you cannot be paying full attention to the road and the traffic around you. You cannot have the same reaction time to what happens in the road around you as you could if you had 100% of your attention on the road around you.

Next time you talk on the phone while driving down the road, try to recall the roadway that you just traveled while talking on the phone.
post #17 of 42
But let's keep in mind that just because Apple has submitted this for patent only indicates interest in not execution of the concept. Apple does subtractive design - start with a full feature set and eliminate everything that is not necessary or only works ok.
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post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

One way to know a location is by the network you are on so that's a possibility.

One thing I want is for my email and app push notifications to turn off when I'm at home as I'd be using my home PC for email and the like.

There's a huge amount of untapped value in network/location settings.

One of the no-brainers for me is that different types of network activity switch on and off based on whether the internet connection is 3G or not. Let me decide what can and cannot go over 3G and set and forget it.

Another example is for iPhone/iPads to only poll for my saved wifi connections when there is some hope of finding one. So if the phone knows it's 100 miles from my house, don't waste battery power looking for my wifi network and don't make me switch it on and off every time I go through the front door.

If my iPhone and I are in a hotel and not connected to a wifi connection, but my Macbook is throwing data packets around, then set up a network of my own and sync; don't wait for me to notice and do the legwork.

The brawn is all there, but the brains are not at home.

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post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::

Because it reduces your reaction times to that of a drunk driver

Even handsfree.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorGonzo View Post

Because it reduces your reaction times to that of a drunk driver

Even handsfree.

Interesting report. I am definitely WORSE when on the phone than after a beer or two. I'm really a single task at the time typical guy. Speak to me while I am dialling a number and I'll screw up ;-(

I would love to see the research above include simply talking to passengers in the car, no phone, no booze.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.

I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::

There are studies that indicate a reduction in reaction time when attention is divided between a phone conversation and the road, which impacts driving and accident avoidance considerably.

One hand on the wheel is half the control of two.
post #22 of 42
I think it would be great if you could do something similar with GPS and the ringer setting.
Automatically switch to silent when I'm in library, conference room, classroom, church, movie theater...
post #23 of 42
Hate to bust everyone's bubble, but HP just announced this same feature for its TouchPad.

"And if you have one Charging Dock at work and another at home, the device knows they’re different and can be configured to run different Exhibition apps in either place." - Jason Snell in Macworld
post #24 of 42
seems a bit "expensive" to put this function in a dock (I've got 4 ipods - only 2 hold a charge) but I have NO DOCKS. I don't see myself getting a single dock (much less one for every location)..

wouldn't it be easier/better to change modes on the phone (via shortcuts)? what if I want to use my car settings in someone else's car?
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post

But let's keep in mind that just because Apple has submitted this for patent only indicates interest in not execution of the concept. Apple does subtractive design - start with a full feature set and eliminate everything that is not necessary or only works ok.

Yes, Apple does file lots of patents and the vast majority of them do not see the light of day as a finished product.

It's possible that we may see a variant of this proposal in a feature in the future, however, it's also very possible that we'll never really see anything like this.
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

Hate to bust everyone's bubble, but HP just announced this same feature for its TouchPad. It works with the TouchStone inductive charging pads.

I think you mean "burst".
All this means is that it is time for HP to pony up some cash for violating Apple's patent.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmage View Post

wouldn't it be easier/better to change modes on the phone (via shortcuts)? what if I want to use my car settings in someone else's car?

I'm not that fond of devices auto-helping me. There are so many variables as you said: I'm on a bus, I'm on a plane, I'm in my car, your car, coffee shop, etc. There are potentially a dozen different networks one might use on a typical day. I would rather have more control and fewer automatic configurations.

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post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris v View Post

Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe.

Yes, but SUV drivers are like that whether there's a phone in their hand or not. That's one of the reasons why they buy those ridiculous behemoths, so when they cause an accident, it'll be the other guy who gets hurt. (That and because, at least in America, there's a need to look successful, and bigger is always better - hence people buying homes they can't afford). But I digress...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.

I too drive okay with a phone in my hand, in fact I've had friends tell me I'm the only one they've driven with who seems to be able to still be aware of what's going on around me while I hold a phone. Still, I don't feel comfortable doing so, so I use a handsfree device. I also find headsets to be very uncomfortable, so I use the built-in bluetooth handsfree capabilities of my TomTom (not all models support it, but the more expensive versions do) and I love it...

Quote:
I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::

Actually I know a cop here in the Seattle area who has said that the roads have actually become less safe since our texting and driving law went into effect. He said that while people used to hold their phones in front of them to text (thereby being able to still at least sort-of see what's going on in front of them), people now hold their phones down at their laps (in a vain attempt to avoid getting caught). Try staring at your lap and drive and see how well you remain aware of what's going on around you.

Ironically, I was visiting Austin a few months ago and sat in on a legislative session at the capital where they were trying to pass a similar law. One of the representatives argued this exact point stating that most states have reported an increase in texting-related accidents since passing these laws. The sponsor of the bill replied, "Yeah I've heard those reports too. But I don't believe them..."
post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmage View Post

wouldn't it be easier/better to change modes on the phone (via shortcuts)? what if I want to use my car settings in someone else's car?

Profiles would be nice. Almost every other phone supports them (even the ancient versions of Windows Mobile); I don't know why Apple doesn't. Hold down the lock button and, in addition to the power off option, list the different profile settings for email, text, phone, notification, voicemail alerts, etc...
post #30 of 42
Welcome to 1997:

http://www.mactech.com/articles/mact...ent/index.html

Apple Location Manager did much of the same thing, but didn't use specific hardware, but rather network information, to determine context. It would set preferences like preferred printer, sound level/muting/output device, network settings, etc. It was extensible, so third parties could write modules that added to the methods for determining location, as well as setting application settings based on location.
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmage View Post

seems a bit "expensive" to put this function in a dock (I've got 4 ipods - only 2 hold a charge) but I have NO DOCKS. I don't see myself getting a single dock (much less one for every location)..

Bingo exactly where I think most people are. I can't see people dishing $29 each (who knows how much Apple would charge for these "smart" docks...) to put docks in their home, office, and car just to have their device know what emails and apps to show...

Quote:
Originally Posted by djames4242 View Post

Profiles would be nice. Almost every other phone supports them (even the ancient versions of Windows Mobile); I don't know why Apple doesn't. Hold down the lock button and, in addition to the power off option, list the different profile settings for email, text, phone, notification, voicemail alerts, etc...

Profiles sounds like a good idea
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris v View Post

I'm all for anything that will disable hand-held devices while operating a car. Your lack of time management skills doesn't give you the right to put other people's lives in jeopardy.

Maybe they could add software to the iPhone that would auto-detect, through GPS that the unit was moving at 65 mph, and just shut the **** thing down.

Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe. Before I could react, the driver swerved around me into the right lane, and came barreling by at perhaps 80 mph -- when I glanced over, the driver had an iPhone up to their face, in one hand, texting away with their thumb. They proceeded to tailgate the car in front of me for as long as they both stayed in sight -- I slowed down to get away from the accident waiting to happen. I see this All. The. Time.

In Colorado I believe they have a hotline you can call & alert police to keep an eye out for drivers like this, really wish they had that where I live. I have friends who text & drive all the time and they think the laws against such don't really apply to them because they aren't the one's who have a problem multitasking. They'll say this in defense of themselves as they swerve to avoid someone they didn't see because they were busy texting.

It isn't just texting though, they need to make it so you can't use the mirror on your visor while driving, I'm sick of almost being hit by women putting on makeup while driving!!!
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I think you mean "burst".
All this means is that it is time for HP to pony up some cash for violating Apple's patent.

I'm sure HP has a patent on it as well. Let them duke it out in a San Jose courtroom.

I know it's a colloquialism, but doesn't 'bust' work just as well? They're synonyms.
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris v View Post

I'm all for anything that will disable hand-held devices while operating a car. Your lack of time management skills doesn't give you the right to put other people's lives in jeopardy.

Maybe they could add software to the iPhone that would auto-detect, through GPS that the unit was moving at 65 mph, and just shut the damn thing down.

Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe. Before I could react, the driver swerved around me into the right lane, and came barreling by at perhaps 80 mph -- when I glanced over, the driver had an iPhone up to their face, in one hand, texting away with their thumb. They proceeded to tailgate the car in front of me for as long as they both stayed in sight -- I slowed down to get away from the accident waiting to happen. I see this All. The. Time.

Hey, you live in Dallas. Don't you guys just shoot each other on your roadways like we do here in California?

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post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post

Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.

I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::

That's the problem, people don't usually know they are incapable of doing so safely and for certain there are lots of people who really can't talk on the phone & drive (even hands free).

You are right though, in a way banning it isn't going to solve the problem as these same people can get just as distracted or worse when carrying a passenger, they simply can't focus on more than one thing at a time. Perhaps the question should be does multitasking need to be a required skill for a driver's test?
post #36 of 42
I would just be happy to get rid of that "This device is not optimized for this iPhone" message EVERY TIME I connect to the charger in my car or the clock radio in my kitchen. As if I didn't know that by now. Sheesh.
post #37 of 42
Android already has this feature, and has for two years.

When I attach it to a car-dock, or the a desk-dock, the entire UI changes to one optimized for car use (featuring extra large buttons to activate navigation, etc.) or for desk-clock use (showing time and weather, with large buttons for accessing the media player.)

Apple's patent sounds like the same thing. Defining a dozen more locations with different UIs and configurations is still the same concept, but with a different implementation. Not something that should be patentable.
post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

Android already has this feature, and has for two years.

When I attach it to a car-dock, or the a desk-dock, the entire UI changes to one optimized for car use (featuring extra large buttons to activate navigation, etc.) or for desk-clock use (showing time and weather, with large buttons for accessing the media player.)

Apple's patent sounds like the same thing. Defining a dozen more locations with different UIs and configurations is still the same concept, but with a different implementation. Not something that should be patentable.

Haven't you heard? Patents will now be issued to "first to file", not "first to invent"... so expect patents to be filed for even more seemingly ridiculous, seemingly duplicative things. I think the real reason behind this change is so the 'guvvermint' can collect immediately on patent applications, rather than wait.

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post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamino View Post

Android already has this feature, and has for two years.

When I attach it to a car-dock, or the a desk-dock, the entire UI changes to one optimized for car use (featuring extra large buttons to activate navigation, etc.) or for desk-clock use (showing time and weather, with large buttons for accessing the media player.)

Apple's patent sounds like the same thing. Defining a dozen more locations with different UIs and configurations is still the same concept, but with a different implementation. Not something that should be patentable.

exactly what i thought when i read the 'news' as in 'old news' if you use android and car dock, home dock.
post #40 of 42
iPhone needs a dedicated car dock pronto like tonto!

better yet, Steve needs to start a new "hobby": carputers. give microsoft sync a run for it's money.

or else the future of car user interfaces will be what they're doing with W8/WP8.
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