or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple patent filing details iPhone-controlled car and home environments
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple patent filing details iPhone-controlled car and home environments

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
In a patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple describes a system that can automatically customize a car's seat, steering wheel, and mirror positioning, as well as home climate control, based on information from a single device like an iPhone.

Configuration
Source: USPTO


Apple's patent filing for "Automatic configuration of self-configurable environments" covers a system that uses a portable consumer device to automatically adjust configurable objects to a user's preferences, with or without interaction from said user.

The filing offers an example of a "self-configurable environment" as being the cockpit of an automobile. In many cars, seats, mirrors, steering wheel and other functions are mechanized, with some able to store a driver's personal preferences to an on-board computer. This way, two or more drivers who share a car don't have to hassle with resetting the above controls each time they enter the vehicle.

As Apple's invention notes, while such self-configurable environments are convenient, they are rarely transportable. To solve this apparent problem, the patent application details a method of using a portable device, such as an iPhone, to take environment configuration information on-the-go. The technology could allow for an iPhone to become a universal configuration tool for the world around its user.

Configuration
Block diagram of portable device and configurable environment.


The document focuses mainly on the car, which is understandable given the level of environment customization implemented by a number of auto makers. In one embodiment, the portable device acts connects with the car's computer to relay a set of custom options stored by the user. For example, a user could store their personal preferences onto a portable device, and when that device enters a car, it will send the appropriate configuration information.

Aside from the basic seat positioning information, the patent filing goes further and describes an embodiment that can adjust components in a car based on angle measurements, driver positioning, and other metrics. Driving the advanced configuration is "environment-translation software" that would run on a user's device, adjusting options based on measurements taken by the car. Such a system would be useful in the case of car rentals, or new car purchases, the application notes.

Configuration
Illustration of angle measurements.


In other embodiments, house or hotel climate controls, television, lighting and other home automation settings are briefly covered. Though sparse on details, it can be imagined that a portable device would be able to control an entertainment system, air conditioning, and other connected appliances.

While Apple's invention would rely heavily on the cooperation of third-party manufacturers to build out the robust ecosystem required to facilitate such a system, the benefits to the user would be substantial. The company is already rolling out a type of configuration method in iOS in the Car, though it has already seen pushback from car manufacturers hesitant to implement the solution in their infotainment systems.

Apple's automatic environment configuration patent application was first filed for in 2012 and credits Thomas Ethan Lowry as its inventor.
post #2 of 15
An Apple controlled car - It will only go where Apple thinks it is in their best interests that you go.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

An Apple controlled car - It will only go where Apple thinks it is in their best interests that you go.

 

They want you in your sofa. No?
post #4 of 15
I am see if Apple plans to build a house akin to Microsofts house of the future in Redmond lol.gif

Climate control seems strange because other apps already do that with the iPhone.

Also I think Mercedes has an app on iPhone that is based on driver memory adjustments where you can automatically adjust the seat from your iPhone.
post #5 of 15
I was JUST talking to someone about this idea of mine...someone at Apple is listening to me...

But replace the car environment with any place where you spend time regularly, AND replace iPhone with iWatch - adding bio-sensoring to the mix.
Think about the possibilities!
post #6 of 15

Sounds like this patent overlaps existing technology (and perhaps other patents). I know for sure that some automobiles already store custom environment information in dongles or key memories, because my dads car keeps messing up my seat position whenever I grab the wrong key.

post #7 of 15

As others have noted, most luxury cars already do this when you click your remote.

 

Now, if it wasn't your car, I can see this being useful.  For example, if you were renting one of those by-the-hour cars, like Zipcar.

 

As to personalizing an environment, I am imagining more than one person walking into a home or office, and their phones fighting it out for dominance.   :)

 

You'd have to have priorities built in.  Like the bosses' phone wins.  And the wife's phone wins.  

post #8 of 15
Apple, why don't you give us the most useful function first, preset configurations and preferences by time and environment!!! is that so hard???
live & let live
Reply
live & let live
Reply
post #9 of 15

Since you have to ask...

 

perhaps you shouldn't assume its SOOOOOO easy.

turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
Reply
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
Reply
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by imgmkr View Post

Apple, why don't you give us the most useful function first, preset configurations and preferences by time and environment!!! is that so hard???

1. They'd have to build the system first.
2. What are you even talking about?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

An Apple controlled car - It will only go where Apple thinks it is in their best interests that you go.

 

And lock you inside- for your own safety... Its a dangerous world out there!

 

 

That said, another obstructionist non-patent from a tech company here.  Microcontrollers in many cars already store multiple users and do all this automatically.  Copying exactly something that has been done for years and adding 'on an iPhone' does not make it magic, revolutionary, nor a patent that will hold up in court.

 

The patent office has to grant patents based on their strict rulesets- part of which is no one has patented this yet because until recently patenting the obvious wasn't a business strategy.  Well, okay, maybe Amazon with one click purchasing, but even that is fairly recent.

 

Plenty of other companies are going to do this, Apple will claim IP theft and get their troops in an uproar, Apple will be smart enough not to use this patent in litigation- but if they do it will be invalidated and that will 'bond' their fans to commiserate with them.

 

I'm really beginning to believe this is a strategy Apple uses to convince their users they are magical and everyone is stealing from them.  Obviously on this site that strategy is working pretty well.  If you took all the IP out of an iPhone that Apple did not contribute, there really isn't much left.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post

 

And lock you inside- for your own safety... Its a dangerous world out there!

 

 

That said, another obstructionist non-patent from a tech company here.  Microcontrollers in many cars already store multiple users and do all this automatically.  Copying exactly something that has been done for years and adding 'on an iPhone' does not make it magic, revolutionary, nor a patent that will hold up in court.

 

The patent office has to grant patents based on their strict rulesets- part of which is no one has patented this yet because until recently patenting the obvious wasn't a business strategy.  Well, okay, maybe Amazon with one click purchasing, but even that is fairly recent.

 

Plenty of other companies are going to do this, Apple will claim IP theft and get their troops in an uproar, Apple will be smart enough not to use this patent in litigation- but if they do it will be invalidated and that will 'bond' their fans to commiserate with them.

 

I'm really beginning to believe this is a strategy Apple uses to convince their users they are magical and everyone is stealing from them.  Obviously on this site that strategy is working pretty well.  If you took all the IP out of an iPhone that Apple did not contribute, there really isn't much left.

 

The difference is that all current systems are not portable.

You can configure your car, but that configuration parameters are stuck to that one car.

 

Apple's innovation is that your settings could become portable.

Imagine you are a frequent business traveler...

You walk up to a rental car...it is configured to your preferences.

You arrive at your hotel room...it is configured to your preferences.

 

You get on a plane and sit down in first class...it is configured to your preferences.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post

And lock you inside- for your own safety... Its a dangerous world out there!

That said, another obstructionist non-patent from a tech company here.  Microcontrollers in many cars already store multiple users and do all this automatically.  Copying exactly something that has been done for years and adding 'on an iPhone' does not make it magic, revolutionary, nor a patent that will hold up in court.

The patent office has to grant patents based on their strict rulesets- part of which is no one has patented this yet because until recently patenting the obvious wasn't a business strategy.  Well, okay, maybe Amazon with one click purchasing, but even that is fairly recent.

Plenty of other companies are going to do this, Apple will claim IP theft and get their troops in an uproar, Apple will be smart enough not to use this patent in litigation- but if they do it will be invalidated and that will 'bond' their fans to commiserate with them.

I'm really beginning to believe this is a strategy Apple uses to convince their users they are magical and everyone is stealing from them.  Obviously on this site that strategy is working pretty well.  If you took all the IP out of an iPhone that Apple did not contribute, there really isn't much left.

So why are you even here?

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #14 of 15
I would really like to be able to hear well on the iPhone. Is that too much to ask. It does almost everything except function as well as our older clamshell phones. I guess they forgot that the number 1 thing is to be able to hear well. And my hearing is not impaired either.
post #15 of 15
I think too many of you read the headline and not the article.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple patent filing details iPhone-controlled car and home environments