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Apple patent hints at situationally aware iPhone settings

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Among the mountain of patents awarded to Apple on Tuesday, a property relating to wireless device "enforcement policies" could signal the inclusion of dynamic, location-aware iPhone settings.

Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902 for "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device," looks to solve the problem of unwanted phone notifications, such as having a ringer go off in a classroom setting.

The new invention can create customized alert profiles for a number of situations by using a variety of methods, including GPS, cellular triangulation and WLAN communication. Calling on a set of predefined rules called "policy enforcement," a device's actions, or lack thereof, can be dynamically changed to create a situationally aware phone.

Policy2
Source: USPTO


From the patent's abstract:

This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter "sleep mode" when entering a sensitive area.


Apple is relying mostly on radio technologies to achieve its intended goal. For example, in one embodiment, the device communicates with a Wi-Fi base station and selects the correct alert parameters according to the unit's profile, as would be the case in a classroom. In this case, a phone could be switched to vibrate or enter sleep mode.

Policy1


In another example, GPS is used to define the handset's location, thereby triggering another profile suitable for the situation. A version of this kind of tech is seen in the existing geofencing feature in iOS 5, which allows users to set reminder alerts that will go off when they get home or reach their office. The functionality is limited, however, and is apt to drain an iPhone's battery.

Policy3


Being controlled by the system are tones, display brightness, radio communications and a number of high-function features that comprise a modern day multi-function device. A logic system is employed to give the system a moderate level of intelligence, freeing the user from pre-setting some of the "policies" beforehand.

519


It is unclear when or if Apple will use the patent.
post #2 of 8
Obvious! Software! Prior Art! Wah! Wah!

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post #3 of 8

I know some of my friends w/Android phones have their phones setup to not look for Wi-Fi when they get to work.  Would be a simpler answer than choosing to have my phone set to never look for new wi-fi networks.  Situationally aware but not draining power, that's the trick

post #4 of 8

I have been waiting for this patent.  This patent will supercede the functionality provided by SBSettings such that rather than managing your iPhone settings, your iPhone has pre-established settings based on geospatial-temporal parameters.

 

 
post #5 of 8

In order for this to be usable without emptying the battery twice a day, Apple would almost have to buy their own GPS chip fab and design the world's most low-power unit.

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post #6 of 8

Someone help me with this.  I'm not sure if these are settings that the user controls, or if these are settings forced onto the device by the location.  The phrase "enforcement of policies upon a wireless device" implies the latter.  I can see the usefulness of this as it enforces the rules of the location (school , theaters, work, etc.) as to how you can use your device, but would be concerned as who has control this.

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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by diplication View Post

Someone help me with this.  I'm not sure if these are settings that the user controls, or if these are settings forced onto the device by the location.  The phrase "enforcement of policies upon a wireless device" implies the latter.  I can see the usefulness of this as it enforces the rules of the location (school , theaters, work, etc.) as to how you can use your device, but would be concerned as who has control this.

I'm going to assume that the control will be with the user. This should be similar to the old windows smartphones that forced the phone into different profiles based on one's calendar appointments.

 

we used to have something like that functionality in the jailbroken realm, too. I can't remember what it was called but I'm glad Apple is finally doing this because it's the one thing that bugged me from day one in terms of iPhone being a "smart" phone. Unfortunately those jailbroken apps were battery killers (there were two different ways of doing this functionality if my memory is serving me correctly) so I eventually opted to leave my phone on vibrate rather than risk embarrassing ringtones during faculty meetings or lectures.

 

I don't have a 4s. Doesn't Siri do GPS gating? If so, this would presumably be using that functionality with one's calendar entries or locations, for example, to silence a phone during a meeting (time) or movie (place).

 

Or thinking of movies perhaps it's a way for a theater to set a silence umbrella and then a user can setup his or her phone to respect those types of boundaries.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by diplication View Post

Someone help me with this.  I'm not sure if these are settings that the user controls, or if these are settings forced onto the device by the location.  The phrase "enforcement of policies upon a wireless device" implies the latter.  I can see the usefulness of this as it enforces the rules of the location (school , theaters, work, etc.) as to how you can use your device, but would be concerned as who has control this.

I'm pretty sure this relates to phone settings you can define, similar to Tasker on Android.  When I connect to my work wifi, my phone goes into silent, GPS gets turned off and my screen brightness gets turned down.  You've nothing to fear:-)

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