Apple's journaling system for iOS makes geotagging a system-wide feature

in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for an advanced journaling system that timestamps and geotags any iOS device event, such as a phone call, an app download, the playing of a song, and more.

Journaling System
The journaling system can display data on a map and be filtered by tags. | Source: USPTO

Much like the existing geotagging feature seen in the iOS Photos app, the system presented in Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,316,046 automatically notes an event's time and location, but goes further in logging basically any set of device data.

The '046 patent utilizes a map as a means to display the aggregated data, using special icons and tags to differentiate different events such as phone calls or app downloads. The map GUI pulls from a timeline created and stored in a database, which is searchable via text entry.

For example, a user can type in "Mar. 23, 2010 and 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and email," which would return a set of data for emails sent or received on Mar. 23 between 10 a.m. and noon. Note that the system allows for the use of Boolean operators such as "to" and "and."

The aggregated data can be filtered by time, location, application, and other methods to offer a comprehensive but presentable display of the database. Also called for is a UI in which the user can adjust the subsystem's settings, customizing which events are logged and for what time period.

In some implementations, the system can offload storage of the event database to a server, which is then accessed by the device through a Wi-Fi or cellular network.

Journal Illustration
Illustration of device storing and accessing event data from off-site database.

Of the numerous "event data" the journaling subsystem can handle are network connections, radio broadcasts, application data such as opening or closing an app, device charging times, attachment of an external device, and more. Because the can be accessed by client applications through an Application Programming Interface (API), almost any high function event can be logged.

Similar products exist in the app store, such as Evernote, which give users the option of tagging notes and other items, however iOS has yet to offer such system-wide functionality. It remains to be seen whether the feature will make its way to a future iteration of Apple's mobile OS, however the invention could prove to be useful as users become increasingly reliant on information stored in their portable devices.


  • Reply 1 of 10

    Awesome. Once home appliances become standard with wifi, they'll know when and where I'm texting while I'm taking a shit.

  • Reply 2 of 10
    leptonlepton Posts: 111member
    Or more importantly for certain entities, the time and place you touched an iAd, made a purchase with your Passbook, and so on...
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Orwell didn't foresee we'd do it to ourselves, at our own expense and thinking how great it was.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    This is indeed awesome stuff.
    This looks like the work of Dominic Giampaolo; famous for the BeOS file system BFS who now works at Apple.

    There are very few of these experienced and talented people in the world. I am glad some of them are at Apple.

    This is why I wish Tim Cook would find a way to retain Scott Forstall.

    Although brilliant new people come out of universities all the time, these experienced veterans can really change the world. It's just terrible to lose these talents over silly disagreements after nurturing them for years. They are not easy to come by and they will be nabbed by the competition. Apple Map *is* awesome.

    The patent lists Huang; Ronald K. (Cupertino, CA), Piemonte; Patrick (San Francisco, CA) as the inventors but these types of searchable file systems were Dominic's forte.

    Time will tell.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Funny how Apple is fast becoming the physical representation of the image on the screen from that famous 1984 Mac ad.

    Big Brother is coming to get you - only this time there's no pretty blond to rescue us!
  • Reply 6 of 10
    cgjcgj Posts: 276member


    Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

    Funny how Apple is fast becoming the physical representation of the image on the screen from that famous 1984 Mac ad.

    Big Brother is coming to get you - only this time there's no pretty blond to rescue us!

  • Reply 7 of 10
    technotechno Posts: 737member
    Great, now the FBI can know when and where you were playing Angry Birds
  • Reply 8 of 10
    This is neat and helpful, yet needs a on/off switch and be able to label it
  • Reply 9 of 10
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member

    Headline is phrased to state that something is true.


    It is not true.


    One day this tech could happen but most Apple patents are “just in case we ever want it” and in reality never happen. These patents tell us nothing about future products.


    Conclusion: headline is a lie.


    (Purpose? To get clickthroughs on ads for tinfoil hats?)

  • Reply 10 of 10
    Does it bug anyone else that "to" is not a boolean operator?
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