Apple filing places iPhone networks at restaurants, zoos, concerts

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple Inc.'s iPhone can already playback video, browse the Internet, and place phone calls, but a new filing by the handset maker suggests it may one day take your lunch order and serve as a tour guide at the local zoo.



The concept calls for a short-range wireless network comprised of a central server and one or more wireless routers, such as AirPort Extreme WiFi base stations, that merchants or attraction organizers could install within their venues. Included on the central server would be a proprietary software-based application (or "iPhone server") capable of interfacing and serving up customized information and applications to Apple media devices devices that come within range of the network.



"For example, assuming the establishment is a restaurant, local server may provide a menu to media device," the company said. "A user may choose contents in the menu for an order by interfacing with device 1020 and submit the order to local server when complete. Local server may then process that order upon receipt."



In some cases, software on the server could interact with software on a user's media device, such as an iPhone or iPod touch, to allow the menu to be customized for a that user. For example, the personal media device may have stored user preference profiles for desired foods. If it is known that user of device has a dietary restriction (such as diabetes) or prefers to eat vegan food (Steve Jobs), the menu could be customized such that only the food the user is permitted to eat or prefers to eat is provided on the menu.



"The user preference profile may be uploaded to the merchant server, which may generate a custom menu to be provided to the personal media device," Apple said. "In another approach, the entire menu may be provided to the media device, but the media device may filter out content based on the user preference profiles to provide a custom menu."



Such a customize menu system could be extended even further, according to the filing, in that a food rewards systems may be implemented to reward a user with the option to eat normally restricted food (such as dessert) if it is determined that the user has earned the reward. Similar, the software on the user's media devices may be able to monitor a person's health (by measuring the number of steps the person has taken or by monitoring a person's pulse).



"This health information may be collected over the course of a day, week, or other predetermined period of time," Apple said. "Depending on the level of physical activity and monitored health, the personal media device may provide the user with a reward. This reward may be 'cashed in' when a menu is customized to include food that would not otherwise be included."



In another example provided as part of the patent filing, the short-range wireless system may be referred to as a distributed network such as citywide public network or a merchant-wide network. In this example, a system could include many wireless routers that may be connected the central server.



Each wireless router would have its own local area network, thus any device located within a particular wireless router's local network may be able to communicate with server. One advantage of this kind of system is that the geographic location of each wireless router may be known and the local area networks of two or more routers may intentionally be laid out to overlap one another. This overlay, Apple explains, could be advantageous because it may provide more precise detection of a media device's geographic location (e.g., three wireless routers may be used to triangulate the position of a media device in communication with three routers). Such geographic knowledge could then be used to execute various location-specific features.



"For example, in one embodiment, as a media device moves from one router's local network to another, media device may automatically download content specific to a particular router For example, if server detects the geographic location of media device to be in the geographic region of router, server may instruct media device to play content local to router. In another approach, assuming that media device has already downloaded all or a portion of the content included on server, when media device establishes communication with router (e.g., by moving into its local area network), server may issue a command to media device to play localized content specific to router. Thus, specific content may be played based on a detected geographic location of a media device. That is, even though the aggregate of routers may form a larger distributed network, specific content may be provided or cause to be played based on a detected geographic location of media device within that larger distributed network."



In some cases, Apple says a docking station and wired network may be substituted for a wireless one, which would provide its own set of advantages. Referring back to its restaurant example, the electronics maker said each dinner table could include a docking station, and as such the location of that docking station is known.



"Thus, when a user places an order on a particular docking station with his or her media device, the merchant may know which table placed the order. In other embodiments, depending on the location of a particular docking station, server may provide different information," the company said. "For example, if a user is at a tourist attraction such as a zoo, server may provide primate information to a docking station located in the primate section of the zoo and may provide lizard information to docking station located in the lizard section. In yet another embodiment, a user may connect to docking station to download all localized-content onto media device, thereby giving a user the option to access the content when desired. For example, a user may download all localized-content for a tourist attraction (e.g., a museum). When the user moves from one area of the tourist attraction to another, the user may select content appropriate for the area her or she is in. For example, if the user is in the impressionist section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the user may select an audio file on impressionist art."



In the 8-page patent filing, authored back in November of 2006 -- just prior to the iPhone's unveiling -- Apple rattled off at least six other potential implementations of its short-ranged wireless system:

"Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a merchant that sells goods and articles of manufacture. For example, a user may access music (e.g., being freely broadcast by the establishment or for sale on content source), advertisements (e.g., coupon specials, video advertisements, and audio advertisements), event calendar (e.g., to learn of exciting new events that may be occurring at the merchant), virtual card information may be exchanged, podcast, general information on merchant (e.g., return policies), product information (e.g., graphics of products, reviews of products, etc.), or any other suitable information pertinent to the merchant."

"Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a merchant that sells food (e.g., a restaurant). For example, such a merchant may provide music (e.g., for purchase or for free listening), a menu (e.g., from which a user may place orders for foodstuffs), event schedule, general information on the merchant, reviews (e.g., Zagat survey), and any other suitable information pertinent to the merchant."

"Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a concert or other music venue. A concert or music venue may provide content including, for example, music, setlists, virtual cards, website information, schedule information (e.g., for upcoming shows at the venue), graphics (e.g., album art, pictures of the band members, etc.), ticket sales (e.g., provide user option to purchase tickets in advance), general information relating to the concert, or any other information."

"Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a theater or movie. For example, local content may include music, soundtracks (e.g., for purchase from a content source), movies (e.g., for purchase from content source), podcast (e.g., audio commentary relating to the movie such as director's commentary), showtime schedule, advertisements, ticket purchasing, real-time translation (e.g., if a foreign file or an opera in a foreign language), graphics, or any other suitable information."

"Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a tourist attraction (e.g., a museum or zoo). Local content may include, for example, audio podcasts, maps, event schedule, advertisements, general information, graphics (e.g., animal pictures), and any other suitable information. Because tourist attractions can be relatively large (e.g., Disney World) and children often frequent such places, parents may be concerned of a child's whereabouts if not directly within their sight. Assuming the parent and child both have a media device, and the tourist attraction or other large area (e.g., city) has a distributed network, a location program may be executed to determine the location of the child's media device."

"Various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a transportation hub (e.g., an airport, bus station, or train station). Localized content may include, for example, schedules, maps, weather, city information, or any other suitable content. FIG. 15G indicates various location-based content that may be provided in connection with a merchant that sells groceries. Localized content may include, for example, advertisements (e.g., weekly flyer), shopping lists, suggested foods (e.g., to adhere to a preferred eating lifestyle such as vegetarian), recipes, music, and any other suitable content."

The filing, which was botched during publication by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is therefore missing its associated illustrations, is credited to Apple employee Michael Rosenblatt.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    eagerdragoneagerdragon Posts: 318member
    I can see this being used to send ads to the iPhone as you travel within an area.



    Very interesting and useful IMHO except for ads.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    nikiskinikiski Posts: 3member
    That was my senior project...
  • Reply 3 of 50
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,724member
    I can see it now:



    Waiter: Would you like some dessert, sir?

    Me: Ummm, I don't know. Let me ask my iPhone... Nevermind, I'll have some chocolate cake.

    Waiter: Here is your cake.

    Me: MMmmmmm...chocolate.

    iPhone: Put down that cake! YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO COMPLY!

  • Reply 4 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post


    I can see this being used to send ads to the iPhone as you travel within an area.



    Very interesting and useful IMHO except for ads.



    and if your are data roaming get hit by a big data and text bill.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    bcodebcode Posts: 136member
    no, there would be no roaming, you'd be on the network of the said business... not your cell network.



    I can see some huge applications of this technology, very interesting.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    ammoniadammoniad Posts: 7member
    Ha, funny that they're thinking about turning it into a personal fitness assistant (cough... food nazi... cough).



    Just goes to show the true range of application such a smart device could have..... they're going to sell so many of these things its not even funny.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    retroneoretroneo Posts: 240member
    "Mmm that cheeseburger looks good"



    iPhone says NO.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    milkmagemilkmage Posts: 152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    and if your are data roaming get hit by a big data and text bill.



    please re-read the part where it says WiFi:



    "The concept calls for a short-range wireless network comprised of a central server and one or more wireless routers, such as AirPort Extreme WiFi base stations, that merchants or attraction organizers could install within their venues. Included on the central server would be a proprietary software-based application (or "iPhone server") capable of interfacing and serving up customized information and applications to Apple media devices devices that come within range of the network."
  • Reply 9 of 50
    daseindasein Posts: 139member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    and if your are data roaming get hit by a big data and text bill.



    How would you figure the tip??
  • Reply 10 of 50
    Is this not akin to what happens when you enter a Starbucks and view the iTunes store on your iPhone ... I thought it was pretty trick when the mermaid magically appeared in the bottom bar of icons.



    So, the same thing could happen when you enter say, MOMA in New York and you get a paperless guide to the exhibits. Or you're at the zoo and looking for more info on the creatures. Or when you're wandering a grocery store or other big box, and they have a list of todays sale items or specials. I think I'd skip it at a restaurant, but it could be handy at those late night places where the only light is a tiny candle on your table that is about to go out.



    When the critical mass of iPhones is out there, this will hopefully get adopted in a big way. Huge way to, <ahem>, monetize the device.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,351member
    Wow. What next? iPhone implants wired directly to every major organ that can wirelessly monitor our health, call the doctor, manage appointment schedules, send auto-texts to the nearest pharmacy, play muzak for us in the waiting room?
  • Reply 12 of 50
    yeah this fits fine with the earlier appleinsider article with the description of the apple personal fitness trainer device.



    with such an advanced touchscreen & simple yet powerful input mechanism, your ipod/iphone/inewton can be just about anything.



    open and turn on your car with your iphone, pay for your meals, carry your personal info and medical records with you, your will, gps, twitter, video chat. it will become the iEverything, an extension of yourself.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Imagine if you will....a video camera mounted on the front of a roller coaster, which captures every screaming moment of your thrill ride...then as you exit the ride, the whole exciting episode is uploaded to your iPhone! How awesome would that be? Or how about, you are in Italy, at the top of Mt. Etna, and you call your friend or family member back home, and upon their answering, you show them hi-definition footage, live!!!! This will happen very soon as AT&T announced a 5-fold increase of speed next year, then the year after, another 5-fold increase. Is there no end to both our excitement and potential?



    Horray for both Apple and AT&T!!!!!!



    John
  • Reply 14 of 50
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    I can definitely see this as useful in some instances, but I will definitely rather give my kid a 5-cent map of the zoo rather than a $400 iPhone. Now as a museum educator I also see a great deal of promise in having rich content freely available to iPhoners!! This could really change what museums do.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    I wrote to the Delicious Library and submitted a joint venture idea that they rejected, but listen to this!



    You take your iPhone, read the barcode of the Lucky Charms box you just finished. It adds the item to your grocery list, where-upon you got to the grocery store, pull up all the items scanned the past week, and the iPhone with in-store navigation tells you when you are passing that Lucky Charms box. You then scan the new box, put it in your cart, then scan anything else you buy, approach the register where you upload your iPhone list and it's already paid for through your pre-programmed credit card info.



    You simply say "See ya" to all those others waiting with melting Ben and Jerry's, and Mrs. Paul's fish sticks in their carts.



    Ahahah!

    Have fun everyone!
  • Reply 16 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacGregor View Post


    I can definitely see this as useful in some instances, but I will definitely rather give my kid a 5-cent map of the zoo rather than a $400 iPhone. Now as a museum educator I also see a great deal of promise in having rich content freely available to iPhoners!! This could really change what museums do.





    Well, MacGregor, you could always get him the cheaper iPod iTouch, which has wireless access to the web. Much cheaper, and besides, isn't your kid worth it? I'm sure he has over $1,000 worth of Playstation crap that doesn't even get him out of the house.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,494member
    This filing does not seem to mention having a GPS chip to determine the location,

    but rather would use the location of docking stations and LAN nodes. Is that a

    clue to anything?
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    This filing does not seem to mention having a GPS chip to determine the location,

    but rather would use the location of docking stations and LAN nodes. Is that a

    clue to anything?



    I couln't tell.. this is allergy season, and I have a stuffed up node.



    john
  • Reply 19 of 50
    hdasmithhdasmith Posts: 145member
    Jobs is a vegan??! Blimey, he's just dropped a couple of places in my book!
  • Reply 20 of 50
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    and if your are data roaming get hit by a big data and text bill.



    Not if you're using a 'free' Googlenet supported with ads.
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