Future iPhones could broadcast preferred communication mode, network status

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is investigating technology for its iPhone and other communication devices that could notify other users of preferred methods of communication based on their current network status and relative signal strength.

An Apple patent filing published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices and discovered by AppleInsider details a system where communication devices could talk to each other to determine which methods of communication are available. Such notifications could simplify the decision whether to call, text message, FaceTime or iMessage another user.

With the proposed system, devices would be able not only to keep track of their own network status, but also to communicate that information to other users. "For example, a network status may indicate that a wireless device is on a 3G network and has three bars, or that the device does not currently have access to cellular service," Apple's application states.

The company's invention could also provide "intelligent suggestions to users" that could recommend certain types of communication based on what's available. "For example, if a wireless device has two or fewer bars, a text based communication may be recommended, rather than a telephone call," the inventor wrote.

Wireless devices could even be programmed to go so far as to broadcast that they are unavailable for certain types of communication. One embodiment of the invention could involve wireless operators, though Apple also proposed an app that users could download to have their network status periodically reported.

That app could potentially be cross-platform to let different kinds of devices communicate with each other. Apple defined a cellular phone, smartphone, notebook computer, tablet computer and even a landline telephone as "communication devices" to which the patent could apply.

Patent 1


"In some embodiments, the software may be provided to the device as an app that may be obtained through an online store," Apple wrote. "The app may allow for phone from several operating systems and/or networks to all see each others' signal strength and status."

Drawings included with the application show examples of a contact page that would display the contact's network status and recommended form of communication. Unavailable methods could be greyed out, while other services could be color-coded based on signal strength. Alternatively, preferred modes of communication could be displayed as an ordered list.

Apple first filed for the patent in December 2010. Fletcher Rothkopf is listed as the inventor. According to his LinkedIn profile, Rothkopf currently serves as a product design manager and has applied for over 30 U.S. patents while working at Apple.

iOS 6 Phone app



The patent filing appears to be a more advanced version of communication functions that Apple revealed earlier this week with the unveiling of iOS 6. For instance, the next-generation of Apple's mobile operating system, due out this fall, lets users reply with preset text messages when they reject a call.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    I suggest to Apple to also take into account user preferences. Personnally, although an Apple maniac, I do not have an iPhone, because I hate telephone. I could reconsider this, if nobody can disturb me by a phone call...
  • Reply 2 of 16
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    It's a shame in a way these filings can't be kept quiet until the product is finished. Google, Samsung et al must have departments standing ready to come up with alternative ways to achieve what ever Apple innovate as fast as Apple file them.
  • Reply 3 of 16


    Isn't this already in place on the iPhone, surely that's how iMessage is powered? Upon choosing a contact to send a message to often the contact's name appears in green briefly before turning blue once verification has taken place that the contact has iMessage and a data signal.

  • Reply 4 of 16
    dazabritdazabrit Posts: 273member


    It would be great if they used this method for tethering also. I'm always tethered to my iPhone and it would be really helpful if i could see the signal/data status directly on the iPad

  • Reply 5 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    umrk_lab wrote: »
    …I hate telephone. I could reconsider this, if nobody can disturb me by a phone call…

    The Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6?
  • Reply 6 of 16
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    
    
    
    The Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6?

    Well, rather : Please let the outside world believe that my iPhone is off ..

    Or (better) you can elaborate, with your Siri personal assistant explaining politely that his master is too busy at the moment ...
  • Reply 7 of 16

    Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post



    …I hate telephone. I could reconsider this, if nobody can disturb me by a phone call…


     


    I agree with Tallest Sky: "The Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6" is actually amazing, as I use it where I've set it up to not disturb me between 10pm to 7am unless the person is on my favorites list, but I'm sure you can set it up where its from 7am to 6am. 

  • Reply 8 of 16
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    It's a shame in a way these filings can't be kept quiet until the product is finished. Google, Samsung et al must have departments standing ready to come up with alternative ways to achieve what ever Apple innovate as fast as Apple file them.


     


    90% of Apple's patents are things they never do and a good 50% of that they never intended to (because it's a good idea but not an "Apple" idea). 


     


    As for the rest, so what if Samsung sees it after it's been filed and possibly granted. They do it without getting a license they set themselves up for a law suit. Even if they get off on the grounds they used different tech, the blogosphere will still know that they copied the idea and it wasn't 'innovation'. Public opinion can go very far in the tech world. 

  • Reply 9 of 16
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by neiltaylormade View Post


    Isn't this already in place on the iPhone, surely that's how iMessage is powered? Upon choosing a contact to send a message to often the contact's name appears in green briefly before turning blue once verification has taken place that the contact has iMessage and a data signal.



    That's a variant on the theme. But iMessages does it based on what hardware you have and then whether you have it turned on or off. 


     


     


    but imagine you have an iPhone but you never signed up for a text plan. Folks can still SMS you and you are charged. The carriers are a pill about blocking SMS to the point that dealing with them is a pain. But if you could block it yourself so the only way to reach you was iMessage, phone call etc. And when you decide to get an SMS plan (if ever) you can just flip a switch and turn it on yourself in like 5 seconds. That's the kind of thing this is talking about. 

  • Reply 10 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    umrk_lab wrote: »
    
    Well, rather : Please let the  outside world believe that my iPhone is off ..

    Isn't that what it does?

    Who cares what they think? Answering the phone is a request, not a command. I don't want to answer, I don't answer. Period. Doesn't matter who you are; maybe I just don't want to answer the phone. If you get offended by that, you need to learn how to be offended by things that actually matter.

    You shouldn't worry about that!
  • Reply 11 of 16
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    Isn't that what it does?

    <...>


    You shouldn't worry about that!

    just before this reply, you could see that I was on the "currently viewing" list, but yet had not replied (but no problem, I also knew you would not be offended ...).

    But (more seriously, there are situations in life where you prefer to hide you current activity/location/availability (imagine a wife/husband relationship ...)
  • Reply 12 of 16
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post





    just before this reply, you could see that I was on the "currently viewing" list, but yet had not replied (but no problem, I also knew you would not be offended ...).

    But (more seriously, there are situations in life where you prefer to hide you current activity/location/availability (imagine a wife/husband relationship ...)


    If they are feeling the need to hide, perhaps the "relationship" is not doing so well.  I suppose you could be off buying a suprise gift, but I don't think that is what you meant.  

  • Reply 13 of 16
    This is "visual SIP" (session initiation protocal) for humans
  • Reply 14 of 16
    jahonenjahonen Posts: 364member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

    but imagine you have an iPhone but you never signed up for a text plan. Folks can still SMS you and you are charged. The carriers are a pill about blocking SMS to the point that dealing with them is a pain. But if you could block it yourself so the only way to reach you was iMessage, phone call etc. And when you decide to get an SMS plan (if ever) you can just flip a switch and turn it on yourself in like 5 seconds. That's the kind of thing this is talking about. 


     


    Receiver only gets charged in the US so it's not a big issue globally.


     


    The other flaw with your descriptionis that how are you going to do this with people texting you via Android and WinPhones. The operator's are not likely going to grant apple access to their customer management systems to enable/disable SMS reception at will from a iPhone.


     


    The "flip a switch"-type of service is already available via many operators through their self-service web portals. Technically it wouldn't be difficult to create a system that would allow the user to change their subscription on the fly from their phone, some operators even have an app for that. But if it were to be "standardised" my suspicion is that it would have to be operator-led instead of phone-vendor led.


     


    Regs, Jarkko

  • Reply 15 of 16
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Wovel View Post


    If they are feeling the need to hide, perhaps the "relationship" is not doing so well.  I suppose you could be off buying a suprise gift, but I don't think that is what you meant.  



     


     


    Let me take another example : I have two teenager kids, both equipped with an iPhone. I am not spying them , but the "find my iPhone" functionality can be useful to locate them. Of course I have warned them that they can turn "on" or "off" this functionality. They deserve to have some privacy ....

  • Reply 16 of 16
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    "The app may allow for phone from several operating systems and/or networks to all see each others' signal strength and status."


     


    Hoping that this is just a subtle way of saying "The app may allow iPhones to switch to whichever cell network has the strongest signal at any moment before initiating a voice and/or data connection."


     


    Which could lead to Apple acting like a meta-MVNO.  We'd pay Apple every month instead of a cell carrier.  And Apple would pro-rate payment to whichever cell carrier(s) we happened to use.


     


    May the strongest, fastest, most widely available cell network win.

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