Future iPhones could advise your friends to quit bugging you

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iPhone patent would take a note out of the I.M. playbook. Photo: Kiwihen
iPhone patent would take a note out of the I.M. playbook. Photo: Kiwihen

The iPhone is more advanced than it’s ever been, but there’s one thing Apple’s smartphone can do no better than the Nokia 3310 I had when I was a teenager: stop you getting calls at inappropriate times.

That may be about to change, however, as a newly-published patent describes an Instant Message-type system whereby future iPhones could automatically broadcast their user’s status — essentially advising others on whether it’s a good time to ring or not.

Your iPhone would determine your current status and broadcast this to your friends. Photo: Apple
Your iPhone would determine your current status and broadcast this to your friends. Photo: Apple

The patent would work by reporting the phone’s current status to a central server, where the information could then be relayed to other users to tell them if you are available for a phone call. This software would run permanently in the background of your phone, and update based on a number of different criteria — automatically determined by your handset, rather than chosen through manual selection.

This might mean advising others if you have poor signal strength in your current location, are suffering from low battery, or currently have your device on airplane mode. Because you may not necessarily wish you share this information with everyone (Hey, thieves: I’m away from home flying off on a holiday), the patent would presumably be similar to Apple’s existing “Find My Friends” service; thereby allowing the user to limit the amount of detail provided.

FaceTime is specifically called out as an application in the patent, but it would make sense for Apple to also apply the technology to regular cellular calls.

Ultimately, your phone wouldn’t refuse to patch through a call because it thinks you’re too busy, but its indication system would hopefully make people think twice before bugging you when you’re running late for a meeting with just 10 percent of juice left in your handset.

Source: USPTO

Via: Apple Insider