• Apple Patents Location-Specific Apps

    An Apple patent application that's recently been revealed suggests that Apple is working on a way for apps and other content to just pop up on your screen when you're at a certain location: for example, a menu and reservation app for a particular restaurant. There are different types of implementations detailed in the patent - either a local access-point-based model or an online service - that would deliver the content to the mobile device. The technology appears to be tightly coupled to Apple's new iAd location-based advertising platform, but this patent gives a clearer picture of the kinds of content that could be delivered to users.

    The core of the technology would be a matching service that would compare a mobile device's location (using GPS or other data) to information stored on a server about what custom content is available in that area. The content would be pushed to the device when the user was in a pre-defined area.

    Patently Apple summarizes two possible scenarios that are detailed in the patent application explaining how the idea would work. The first, in the context of a restaurant, has a "Wait Time" icon appear on the screen tell the user how long the wait for a table would be, with a "Menu" icon that shows the restaurant's menu and allows the user to place their order ahead of time. In a library, the example details how a user would get a custom icon upon entering the building that would allow them to search the library's digital catalog.

    The important thing with this concept is that the apps and all their data are supposed to be deleted from your device when you leave the area. Security is going to be of paramount concern with this, if it's ever implemented, and hopefully it's going to be able to be turned off and on. Otherwise, "viruses" aren't going to be just a metaphor any more, if you could catch malware like you'd catch a cold in a busy subway…

    image via Patently Apple
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