New in iPhone software patents
It’s Thursday, the patent day here at UV HQ, and it’s time to check out what new cool stuff USPTO brought us this week.
Of course, the company everyone’s watching most closely is Apple. And they do not disappoint us. 2 new interesting iPhone software patent applications surfaced today, with some features that could be a very cool addition in the next iPhone OS/firmware update.
The first patent app is called “Auto messaging to currently connected caller” and describes ways to do some additional things, while you are talking to someone on the phone. Things like writing a person an SMS message at the same time, sending him an e-mail, address book contact info, or any other file.
Pretty simple stuff. Describing the things we do without thinking on our PC while engaged in a Skype call. And where most of the modern smartphones come lacking.
It pisses me of, when a friend calls and asks someone’s contact info, and then I have to hang up, look it up and send it via SMS. And why do I have to do that? What’s wrong with keeping the call session open, giving me easy access the usual UI elements, and then giving me an easy way to use other messaging app to communicate with a person I am talking to?
I’m really looking forward to this feature. Of course, to run several apps at once, iPhone OS will have to be able to multitask… Well, not really, Apple can always cheat and make multitasking available only for it’s own messaging apps.
And speaking about messaging the person you are talking to, you also will have to use a built-in speakerphone, since it might be a bit difficult to type an SMS with iPhone at your ear…
And this is what a second iPhone software patent app is about – “Speakerphone Control for Mobile Device “.
It’s not that it’s that hard to turn on the speakerphone manually when you need it. On most modern handsets you can do it with one or two clicks. But Apple still wants to make the whole process automatic, and use various sensors present in an iPhone for it.
Some of them are pretty simple, like deactivating speakerphone, when you put an iPhone to your ear with a hint from proximity sensor. Others are a bit, and, sometimes, a lot more complicated – like measuring your voice volume, device position/orientation, determining time of day, using pressure/temperature sensors to see if a device is in your hand, and even checking it’s location via GPS to decide when to activate/deactivate your speakerphone.
Most of this sounds like a bit of an overkill, (what’s wrong with simply pressing “Speakerphone On/Off” button on display?), and will never make it into an actual software update. But some simple improvements might be welcome.