Future iPhones Could Be More Aware of Other Apple Devices With Location Data, Patent Hints

iPhone 15 battery

Your iPhone already uses your location for tasks like seeing the weather, or even navigation whenever you open an app, but Apple wants to take that further. A recent patent from the company, published on March 12, shows an idea of how future iPhones, or even iOS, could be more self-aware and serve up content from your phone or other device automatically based on your physical location, with the possibility of you not even needing to interact with it.

The patent for “handheld electronic devices with contextual input-output capabilities” was first filed in August of 2021, and shows Apple’s possible ongoing work on the matter. In the patent background, Apple presents the problem that it wants to solve, which is your iPhone and other devices being cumbersome to perform some common functions. The company explains in the patent, that “electronic devices may be bulky and awkward to handle or may have complicated user interfaces that require the user to take multiple actions in order to perform desired functions.”

The solution to that problem? Use that device’s location data automatically for whatever task the phone or device deems necessary. Apple presents two example situations where this applies. In one, you might have an iPhone approaching a museum and will get audio content about that museum as your phone approaches it. In another, you could be interested in controlling an external device, perhaps something like an Apple TV, and will automatically see a remote control interface.

“For example, a remote control interface for controlling an external device may be automatically displayed when the handheld electronic device approaches the external device, or audio content associated with a museum or other location may automatically be provided when the user arrives at the museum or other location,” says Apple in the patent.

Apple even goes as far as to mention a head-mounted display, and how it can sense you’re in a video call based on what’s happening on your phone. “A head-mounted device may display virtual images based on the location of the handheld electronic device. The virtual images may include a live video feed from a video call, a virtual control interface, virtual images associated with voice commands, or other virtual images.”

Several diagrams from the patent show this in potential action, like for controlling lights. Even in a situation where your iPhone senses you’re in a store and are ready for payment. Check it out below.

According to the patent, the technology that could potentially be used here includes Bluetooth, NFC, IEEE 802.11 signals, ultrawideband frequencies, and even microphones. Of course, not all patents eventually become final products, but it is nice to see that Apple wants to make using all of its devices easier. The company has been playing with this idea for a while, as it also patented related technologies last month for how its future hardware can be united for a Smarter Home.



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