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.

iPhone call messaging

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.

iPhone speakerphone logo

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.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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  • saeed201

    Regarding the first patent, it was a part of windows mobile for a long time. Can they actually get a patent for it?

  • Name

    It's not just been a part of Windows Mobile, it's been a part of the iPhone OS. It's an old feature.

    Patent might be for finding another way/process of doing it.

  • Nomdeplume

    But you can already do most of these things while on a call on the iPhone (at least on the 3GS). Just switch to speaker phone or use the ear buds that came with the phone to talk to the person you're calling, press the Home button, then go to the other application you need. You can send emails, browse Safari, send texts, use the maps, take pictures, email
    pictures, etc. I'm surprised you don't know this already, since you write about the iPhone.

  • deeejavuuu

    well i think nokia had this feature long time ago , you can send sms while talking to same person , and i believe you can do that in iphone os 3.01 as well.

  • deeejavuuu

    well i think nokia had this feature long time ago , you can send sms while talking to same person , and i believe you can do that in iphone os 3.01 as well.