On August 27, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals one of the next chapters for Apple's iPhone Feature sets. While today's patent presents us with some background basics of some of the new features available on the iPhone 3G-S, such as tethering and camera functionality, the one tool that stood out for me was one that busy sales execs may appreciate very much. I'm sure that Apple will have a better marketing name for this tool when they launch it, but for now the patent simply refers to this as "Transitional Data Sets." What it boils down to is that a busy sales exec that is always on the go covering national or international sales will be able to organize specific information about each city they cover under a single data button. The iPhone will know which city it's in via GPS and other means, and so when the exec opens up their iPhone, the handy local-icon that they had pre-set will pop up automatically providing them with their local contacts, favorite restaurants, weather and maps. Now that's very cool.
Organizing Data into Application Sets
An iPhone "application" could be a software program, utility, widget, gadget, user interface element (e.g., a menu, tool bar) tool, operating system function or component, search engine, assistant, driver, etc. The data can be retrieved from a local storage device or from a network resource. To reduce clutter on the iPhone's display, the user could organize the applications into sets which can be more easily displayed, accessed and managed on the iPhone or the like.
For example, the user could create a set of location-aware applications that could be populated by transitional data sets. A transitional data set is a data set that can change based on the current location of your iPhone or iPod touch as determined by a positioning technology (e.g., GPS, cell tower triangulation, Wi-Fi). In the example of FIG. 1 (click to enlarge), a display object 110 titled "San Francisco" is displayed on the iPhone. When the user touches the San Francisco icon, a set of location-aware applications could be accessed. Of course if you happen to be on a business call in New York City, your iPhone could display another icon with an image of the NYC skyline, for example.
In some implementations, transitional data sets can be saved to your iPhone or to a network device for future retrieval and/or comparison with other data sets. In the example of FIG. 3 below (click to enlarge), transitional data sets are displayed in a list 302 for San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. So if you're a busy executive always on the go, being able to call up specific data sets for the cities your company covers is a convenient way to unclutter your iPhone. It's an excellent way to store your favorite local restaurants, local contacts, local maps and weather.
Apple credits John Louch as the sole inventor of patent application 20090215497 originally filed in February 2008.
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