We have word from a trusted source that Apple is indeed adding location and travel information to iCal alarms.
Got a flight to catch? iCal takes note of your location, combines that with the route to the airport and says, “You’ve gotta leave in ten minutes if you wanna be there in time.”
The system also takes into account current and predicted traffic conditions, public transport schedules, and weather — adding extra time if the roads are clogged or a storm is expected.
AppleInsider reported that Apple has filed a patent regarding geo-location data in iCal, but we have word that engineers been working for months to implement the system.
Patent filings are more of a legal tool than a product roadmap. Companies like Apple often file patents as a hedge against future lawsuits, or to as leverage if they file suit themselves. Patents rarely provide detailed information about future products or product features.
Except in this case, it does, according to our source. Our tipster says Apple has been experimenting with the system for some time.
However, the source cautioned that the system is experimental — and may or may not make it into future versions of iOS.
Apple has already admitted publicly that it is building a crowd-sourced traffic service using data gathered from millions of iPhones. The admission came as part of LocationGate; Apple admitted that it has been collecting anonymous traffic data for an “improved traffic service” it said would be delivered in the “next couple of years.”
If Apple does add location awareness to iCal, are there any privacy issues that might surface?