Apple could take location tracking to the next level

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Apple Maps instructions might get a lot more 'human' soon.
Apple Maps could benefit directly from peer-to-peer location sharing. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

You’re driving home late one night with your friend following. You lose him at a red light and, realizing he doesn’t have your address, need to tell him where to go.

You ask Siri to share your route with your friend, and voila, he’s able to follow your location as you drive with the Maps app.

Such is the kind of scenario that could arise in the future, thanks to a new Apple patent.

Titled “Sharing location information among devices,” the iPhone maker was awarded a patent today that details how one device could track another in real time.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 4.50.14 PM

The most obvious use of similar technology is evident in Waze, the Google-owned mapping app that lets you see where other Waze users are on the road as you drive.

Apple’s Find My Friends service could easily benefit from what the patent details, as users could be tracked more precisely as they move. Currently, Find My Friends can send alerts when someone leaves or arrives at a certain location. What Apple has patented would basically work like getting peer-to-peer directions with another user’s device as the destination.

The location data could be communicated over cellular, WiFi, iCloud, and even Bluetooth. Whatever device that’s being tracked could potentially provide more efficient directions than what Apple Maps would normally provide. Interestingly, Apple notes that both devices participating in the location sharing “could be carried by a human being on foot, or an animal, or a robot.”

Source: USPTO