Apple investigating dynamic location-, traffic-aware iPhone calendar alerts

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Future iPhone software could provide dynamic, GPS-enabled calendar alerts and alarms that could identify a user's location and offer relevant information, such as estimated travel time.



Apple's work on such technology was revealed this week in a new patent application discovered by AppleInsider, entitled "Dynamic Alerts for Calendar Events." The application, just made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes a system that could dynamically issue an alarm to users based on their current location.



Using GPS and a user's calendar events, the system could determine how long it will take for the person to travel to their scheduled event. The iPhone software could then alert the user accordingly, allowing ample time to travel and meet the scheduled deadline.



Using a GPS signal, the iPhone could even determine travel time based on external factors, such as current or historical traffic conditions. Apple's system would provide users with the best route based on this data, and alert them accordingly.



Apple could even rely on crowd-sourced data to create such a system, offering up routes to users based on scheduled events such as concerts, sporting events, movies, public gatherings, and even retail store sale events.



The application notes that calendar entries stored on devices like the iPhone usually include extensive detail, including date, time, location, duration, subject and participants for an appointment or meeting. Calendar applications also usually offer an alarm indication a certain length of time before the start of the appointment, but this alarm is only presented based on a pre-set time and not real-world conditions.







Apple's system would rely on a variety of available data to ensure that users arrive at their meeting on time, taking into consideration weather, changing road conditions, or public transportation schedules.



The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in November of 2009. It is credited to Geoffrey G. Stahl and Teck Yang Lee.







The publication of the patent application comes soon after Apple publicly admitted it is building a "crowd-sourced traffic" service for iPhone users. The company indicated that it has been collecting users' location data anonymously in order to an "improved traffic service" that was said to arrive in "the next couple of years."



The timing stated in Apple's letter would suggest that any new traffic-related features may not be presented next week, when the company will unveil iOS 5, the next major update to its mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. If Apple does unveil its own traffic-related service, it will likely rely on Google Maps, as the iPhone maker just renewed its contract with the search giant for such data, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt revealed this week.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,659member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Future iPhone software could provide dynamic, GPS-enabled calendar alerts and alarms that could identify a user's location and offer relevant information, such as estimated time travel. ...



    Android is going to have a lot of catching up to do once the iPhone supports time travel!



    Although, the "estimated" thing is a little worrisome.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,303member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Android is going to have a lot of catching up to do once the iPhone supports time travel!



    Although, the "estimated" thing is a little worrisome.



  • Reply 3 of 26
    chiachia Posts: 712member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Android is going to have a lot of catching up to do once the iPhone supports time travel!



    Although, the "estimated" thing is a little worrisome.



    It seems difficult to precisely time travel, just ask Doctor Who!
  • Reply 4 of 26
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    How ironic, I entered an event in iPhone and it still has not appeared on my Mac. Hasn't happened often, but every now and then calendar syncing in Mobile Me is still screwed. Will iCloud fix this???



    Edit: Troubleshooting steps. Worked eventually:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3397
  • Reply 5 of 26
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    How ironic, I entered an event in iPhone and it still has not appeared on my Mac. Hasn't happened often, but every now and then calendar syncing in Mobile Me is still screwed. Will iCloud fix this???



    MobileMe was acting a little hinky yesterday for me as well, but no data lost and it's still syncing iCal, Address Book and Notes. It crossed my mind that maybe Apple was reconfiguring something in the MobileMe servers for the impending iCloud.



    Since the calendar function was revamped awhile back, MobileMe users have to be careful not to inadvertently make entries to "On My Mac" calendars. Stick with MobileMe calendars exclusively or the syncing between devices is sure to get screwed up.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    This new dynamic location capability - is that what you'd call the "You Better Get Your Butt on the Road Now If You're Going To Make It in Time" app?
  • Reply 7 of 26
    stynkfyshstynkfysh Posts: 34member
    I was just thinking about this yesterday, but also including sending notifications to people you are going to meet. Like knowing exactly when the cable installer will arrive. I guess I am a couple of years behind Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    This new system plus an implementation of VoiceOver (that doesn't change computer usability and isn't system-wide) plus the TTS and STT capabilities of the licensed Dragon Dictation stuff equals...



    Your computer: "Excuse me, sir (ma'am), you have an appointment at [place name] at five-thirty, but traffic is heavy right now, so I think you should leave now to get there on time. Sorry for the upset in your schedule. Should I modify the scheduled time of your dinner appointment at [restaurant]?"



    You: "Yes, [endearing computer name here], please modify my dinner appointment. Thank you."



    Your computer: "Your dinner appointment has been rescheduled. Your iPhone, [iPhone name], will give you the alert when you are out."



    Gosh, do I want to be able to talk to my computer. I can already begin to parse out that conversation's commands and the implications of its phrases and how they're tied into actual commands on the system. I just can't write any of this stuff myself.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    How ironic, I entered an event in iPhone and it still has not appeared on my Mac. Hasn't happened often, but every now and then calendar syncing in Mobile Me is still screwed. Will iCloud fix this???



    Edit: Troubleshooting steps. Worked eventually:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3397



    MobileMe is refusing to accept my password to access the web pages this morning and 'the send me an e-mail so I can reset it' function has failed to send me an e-mail! Something is going on! My Mac can still sync which is doubly strange.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


    This new dynamic location capability - is that what you'd call the "You Better Get Your Butt on the Road Now If You're Going To Make It in Time" app?



    The "I'm Your Mother and You Should Listen to Me; and Don't Forget Your Coat" app
  • Reply 11 of 26
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,659member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    This new system plus an implementation of VoiceOver (that doesn't change computer usability and isn't system-wide) plus the TTS and STT capabilities of the licensed Dragon Dictation stuff equals...



    Your computer: "Excuse me, sir (ma'am), you have an appointment at [place name] at five-thirty, but traffic is heavy right now, so I think you should leave now to get there on time. Sorry for the upset in your schedule. Should I modify the scheduled time of your dinner appointment at [restaurant]?"...



    This sort of thing will always be disappointing in practice. Traffic snarl can develop almost instantaneously and is unpredictable, so depending on monitoring systems will never insure that you get to your destination on time. For that purpose, the most reliable method will likely remain, for the foreseeable future, "leaving early". The best that monitoring can do is let you know you're going to have an unpleasant trip if you leave now.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    applecationapplecation Posts: 147member
    The comment on using Google Maps is interesting.

    There has been a lot of speculation that Apple would dump Google Maps, since they were hiring location-services engineers.

    I have often thought that would be a mistake, given how much Google Maps offers (street view would be hard to match, for example). It makes more sense to enhance services, with Google Maps at the core.

    This "agent" app looks like one of those enhanced services.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    phippsterphippster Posts: 16member
    I designed this same system as my senior project in college in 1999. It used real-time traffic data and mapquest to determine your best route and then alerted you in advance if you might need to leave earlier than expected to make your appointment. Now how do I get royalties from my invention?
  • Reply 14 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,303member
    Dunno. You should probably start with TomTom since they already offer that feature.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


    This new dynamic location capability - is that what you'd call the "You Better Get Your Butt on the Road Now If You're Going To Make It in Time" app?



    Combining this with shared calendars will allow wives to nag husbands remotely.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stynkfysh View Post


    I was just thinking about this yesterday, but also including sending notifications to people you are going to meet. Like knowing exactly when the cable installer will arrive. I guess I am a couple of years behind Apple.



    If Apple can create a system to allow people to know when the cable installer will arrive, they will truly have the killer app.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by phippster View Post


    I designed this same system as my senior project in college in 1999. It used real-time traffic data and mapquest to determine your best route and then alerted you in advance if you might need to leave earlier than expected to make your appointment. Now how do I get royalties from my invention?



    Only if you patented it.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,303member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Only if you patented it.



    Crap! There's the "p" word again.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    timgriff84timgriff84 Posts: 912member
    Sounded more impressive a few months ago when MS demoed a Quantas app doing this on WP7 Mango. Didn't think it would be something you could ever patent though, seems a somewhat obvious idea.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    "It appears that you have been stuck in traffic for 30 minutes. Happy Birthday!"
  • Reply 20 of 26
    timgriff84timgriff84 Posts: 912member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Only if you patented it.



    If it was done as a project in college, then there's probably evidence that it was done at that point in time. In which case Apples patent wouldn't be valid as this would already have copywrite on it. A parent still has to be an origional idea that nobodys done before, not just not already patented.
Sign In or Register to comment.