Apple's location-based dock concept has unique profiles for home, work, car

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has shown interest in a new location-based docking system that would dynamically change the interface and settings of a portable device for different activities like working or driving a car.



The concept was revealed this week in a new patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled "Location-Based Dock for a Computing Device." Discovered by AppleInsider, the proposed invention notes that while docking stations are typically passive devices, these described docks would take on a more active role.



"It is often left to the user to configure the computing device for use at different locations by accessing or selecting the proper software applications and security measures for the computing device..." the application reads. "However, such configuration of the device may be both time-consuming and confusing to a non-sophisticated user."



Apple's idea could apply to any portable device, whether it be a MacBook, an iPhone or an iPad. Each docking station would, when coupled with the appropriate portable computing device, recognize its location and allow the user to operate the device accordingly.



For example, an iPhone plugged into a moving car could automatically become optimized for use through voice control, as a user driving would not be able to operate the touchscreen.



For someone who uses the same hardware both at home and at the office, a system could automatically be reconfigured to offer the best of both worlds. For example, while at work, a docked system would access work-related e-mails and calendar entries, while at home the device would switch to personal e-mail and calendars.







Apple's concept also extends to other docking ideas, including one meant to be used while watching television, or another that would have a device act as a digital picture frame while docked.



The location-based element could allow the settings to change based on the physical location of the hardware. In this method, if a user were to have only one docking station, they could use it both at work and at home and the appropriate settings would be implemented



And while location could play an important role in each docking station, Apple's concept also notes that settings could be tied to a particular dock regardless of its location. For example, a user could have two or more docking stations at a single location, allowing them to use them for different computing configurations.



The patent application is credited to Nicholas Vincent King, Aleksandar Pance and Brett Bilbrey. It was first filed on New Years Eve in 2009.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I've been waiting for something like this for a long time.
  • Reply 2 of 41
    ilogicilogic Posts: 298member
    It would be better if it were 'network aware' if I'm at work, show only so and so apps. If I'm at school, show me these, you get the idea.
  • Reply 3 of 41
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ilogic View Post


    It would be better if it were 'network aware' if I'm at work, show only so and so apps. If I'm at school, show me these, you get the idea.



    One way to know a location is by the network you are on so that's a possibility.



    One thing I want is for my email and app push notifications to turn off when I'm at home as I'd be using my home PC for email and the like.
  • Reply 4 of 41
    chris vchris v Posts: 460member
    I'm all for anything that will disable hand-held devices while operating a car. Your lack of time management skills doesn't give you the right to put other people's lives in jeopardy.



    Maybe they could add software to the iPhone that would auto-detect, through GPS that the unit was moving at 65 mph, and just shut the damn thing down.



    Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe. Before I could react, the driver swerved around me into the right lane, and came barreling by at perhaps 80 mph -- when I glanced over, the driver had an iPhone up to their face, in one hand, texting away with their thumb. They proceeded to tailgate the car in front of me for as long as they both stayed in sight -- I slowed down to get away from the accident waiting to happen. I see this All. The. Time.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    Just wondering. I know that Google employees are allowed to work about 20% of their

    company time on different projects of their liking. Some of those come out to be neat stuff.

    But how does it work for Apple employees?

    Recently, there has been a ton of very interesting ideas being patented.

    I am sure that as great as S. Jobs brain is. He can't be the directing spirit here.

    Anyone know how these projects come about?



    Appreciate anyone's comments.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,354member
    It will quickly become another of those Apple things that once you've had you wonder how you ever lived without it. The 'walled garden' just keeps getting better.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by juandl View Post


    Just wondering. I know that Google employees are allowed to work about 20% of their

    company time on different projects of their liking. Some of those come out to be neat stuff.

    But how does it work for Apple employees?

    Recently, there has been a ton of very interesting ideas being patented.

    I am sure that as great as S. Jobs brain is. He can't be the directing spirit here.

    Anyone know how these projects come about?



    Appreciate anyone's comments.



    Well, they'll kill me for telling you this, you've read about the bots that take over millions of PCs and work in collaboration as a huge ultra-super computer ....
  • Reply 8 of 41
    freshmakerfreshmaker Posts: 521member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chris v View Post


    I'm all for anything that will disable hand-held devices while operating a car. Your lack of time management skills doesn't give you the right to put other people's lives in jeopardy.



    Maybe they could add software to the iPhone that would auto-detect, through GPS that the unit was moving at 65 mph, and just shut the damn thing down.



    Was diving up the freeway at a respectable 70 mph the other day, when I looked in my rear-view, and a white Porche Cayenne was barreling up my tailpipe. Before I could react, the driver swerved around me into the right lane, and came barreling by at perhaps 80 mph -- when I glanced over, the driver had an iPhone up to their face, in one hand, texting away with their thumb. They proceeded to tailgate the car in front of me for as long as they both stayed in sight -- I slowed down to get away from the accident waiting to happen. I see this All. The. Time.



    Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.



    I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::
  • Reply 9 of 41
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,907member
    There's already location-aware applications that adjust your phone profile so that calls, texts, alerts, etc can be automatically handled differently at home than at work for instance. Apple's idea here is to move it from a software-only solution to one that uses hardware as part of the equation.



    Makes sense for Apple since they make their primary living from contracting and reselling hardware, and very little from an app developer's offering.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple has shown interest in a new location-based docking system that would dynamically change the interface and settings of a portable device for different activities like working or driving a car....



    I'm sorry, I know we are supposed to adore all things Apple but this sounds impractical and kind of dumb to me. The only real use it has is maybe in the car, but it seems like overkill for that situation. I don't see this catching on at all.
  • Reply 11 of 41
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I'm sorry, I know we are supposed to adore all things Apple but this sounds impractical and kind of dumb to me. The only real use it has is maybe in the car, but it seems like overkill for that situation. I don't see this catching on at all.



    Can you explain your point further? Perhaps some examples as to why this is dumb?
  • Reply 12 of 41
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable.



    I've been using this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DRBT50-St...9442495&sr=8-1

    It's quite comfortable and liberating compared to traditional phone holding. I'd be careful to leave one of the ears off when in traffic though.



    Keep in mind that there are studies that show the people that are most confident in their multitasking abilities are very often the worst at it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    There's already location-aware applications that adjust your phone profile so that calls, texts, alerts, etc can be automatically handled differently at home than at work for instance. Apple's idea here is to move it from a software-only solution to one that uses hardware as part of the equation.



    Makes sense for Apple since they make their primary living from contracting and reselling hardware, and very little from an app developer's offering.



    A serialized dock connector can work into that system, as well as wireless networks. I can see the complexity getting out of hand very quickly though.
  • Reply 13 of 41
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    I think a software based solution would be better than having multiple location aware docks. I can't see people buying an additional 2 or 3 docks (especially if they were sold for $49) for their iOS devices just to put in different places.



    A software solution that identifies location through the network and changes the behavior of the devices accordingly would be great.
  • Reply 14 of 41
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    I've been waiting for something like this for a long time.



    So has Phil Collins.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.



    I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::



    Yes, you are looking ahead, but your attention is divided between looking at the road and paying attention to the traffic that is around you, and holding the phone to your ear and paying attention to the sound in that one ear next to your phone, and processing what is being said on the phone and formulating your answer to what is being said on the phone. If you concentrate a little or a lot on the phone call, you cannot be paying full attention to the road and the traffic around you. You cannot have the same reaction time to what happens in the road around you as you could if you had 100% of your attention on the road around you.



    Next time you talk on the phone while driving down the road, try to recall the roadway that you just traveled while talking on the phone.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    But let's keep in mind that just because Apple has submitted this for patent only indicates interest in not execution of the concept. Apple does subtractive design - start with a full feature set and eliminate everything that is not necessary or only works ok.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    One way to know a location is by the network you are on so that's a possibility.



    One thing I want is for my email and app push notifications to turn off when I'm at home as I'd be using my home PC for email and the like.



    There's a huge amount of untapped value in network/location settings.



    One of the no-brainers for me is that different types of network activity switch on and off based on whether the internet connection is 3G or not. Let me decide what can and cannot go over 3G and set and forget it.



    Another example is for iPhone/iPads to only poll for my saved wifi connections when there is some hope of finding one. So if the phone knows it's 100 miles from my house, don't waste battery power looking for my wifi network and don't make me switch it on and off every time I go through the front door.



    If my iPhone and I are in a hotel and not connected to a wifi connection, but my Macbook is throwing data packets around, then set up a network of my own and sync; don't wait for me to notice and do the legwork.



    The brawn is all there, but the brains are not at home.
  • Reply 18 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::



    Because it reduces your reaction times to that of a drunk driver



    Even handsfree.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,608member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DoctorGonzo View Post


    Because it reduces your reaction times to that of a drunk driver



    Even handsfree.



    Interesting report. I am definitely WORSE when on the phone than after a beer or two. I'm really a single task at the time typical guy. Speak to me while I am dialling a number and I'll screw up ;-(



    I would love to see the research above include simply talking to passengers in the car, no phone, no booze.
  • Reply 20 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Freshmaker View Post


    Stupid people are going to pop up from time to time and there's not much you can do about it. I refuse to use a bluetooth headset because I can't find one that's comfortable. I hold the phone to my ear while driving and don't have any trouble paying attention to what's going on.



    I've never understood that. The don't text/email while driving I totally get and support. You have to look at the phone while doing it, thereby taking your eyes off the road. That should be illegal (and is in many places, including my state). But why would holding the phone to your ear be a distraction? You're still looking ahead. I don't get it. ::shrug::



    There are studies that indicate a reduction in reaction time when attention is divided between a phone conversation and the road, which impacts driving and accident avoidance considerably.



    One hand on the wheel is half the control of two.
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