On June 9, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals their intentions of including a new and convenient app Movie app for the iPhone. The new app will include a convenient link to their already established iTunes Music Trailers page so as to help you decide on which movie to see while providing you with a convenient one-click movie ticket purchasing option. It's also tied into the iPhone's calendar so that it could remind you of previous engagements and/or tight schedules. This app is likely to be associated with many next generation apps associated with Apple's forthcoming iWallet. This will definitely be a great little app that all movie goers will appreciate.
The General Problem to Solve
Typical handheld devices are able to integrate multiple functionalities so as to allow users to both manage their personal information and access multiple services via the Internet. In some cases, users may be able to access a movie application for purchasing movie tickets. For instance, using a movie application, a user may specify his current location. Based on this information, the movie application could provide movie theaters that are located near the user's current location.
Current movie applications, however, are limited to providing only a few options for viewing ticketing information. For example, different users of a movie application may see a list of the same movie theaters regardless of current context. Moreover, users may need to browse through multiple theaters and multiple show times in order to find a suitable show time in terms of both time and location.
Apple's Proposed Movie Application Solution
Apple's patent basically covers systems and methods relating to generating context-based movie information. A future iOS device may include a movie application that could obtain show times of one or more movie theaters. For example, the iOS device could obtain the show times from a data source (e.g., a server).
In some embodiments, if the number of show times that have been obtained exceeds a pre-determined threshold, the movie application could combine one or more show times in order to condense the number of show times that are displayed. For example, the movie application could obtain one or more time slots based on a set of time intervals (e.g., hourly time intervals). After obtaining the one or more time slots, the movie application could assign the one or more show times to a corresponding time slot.
The movie application could then generate slot labels corresponding to the time slots based on one or more factors. For example, the movie application could search for an assigned show time that is closest to a current time of day. In response to determining which assigned show time is closest to the current time of day, the movie application could determine a time slot that is associated with the assigned show time. Finally, the movie application could set a slot label of the time slot to the assigned show time.
As another example, the movie application could obtain information associated with a calendar event. In response to obtaining the information, the movie application could determine if a time slot is associated with the calendar event. The movie application could then set a slot label of the time slot to an assigned show time of the time slot. Any suitable approach could be used for selecting an assigned show time such as, for example, spatial proximity (e.g., distance between a movie theater and the calendar event), temporal proximity (e.g., duration between the start time and/or end time of a calendar event and the start time and/or end time of a movie), current traffic conditions, and/or any combination thereof. Finally, the movie application could display the slot labels.
In some embodiments, based on information associated with one or more calendar events, the movie application could determine which time slots are unavailable for a particular day. In some cases, in response to determining the time slots that are unavailable, the movie application could provide one or more indications of those time slots. Thus, a user may easily view the available time slots without referring to a calendar.
In some embodiments, the movie application could determine whether a user has purchased movie tickets for a movie. In response to determining that the user has purchased the movie tickets, the movie application could provide options for transmitting information associated with the purchase to one or more other electronic devices. In some cases, the movie application can also include options allowing the user to purchase additional tickets for the movie.
Proposed User Interfaces for Apple's New Movie App for iOS Devices
Various Points of Interest
List of movie information (206) could include any suitable information associated with one or more movies including, for example, movie titles, movie ratings, one or more images associated with the movies (e.g., movie posters), list of show times associated with the movies, any other suitable information, and/or any combination thereof. The movie application could allow you to check out movies in a city that you're visiting by turning on your location services on your iPhone.
Expand: If a list of show times for a movie includes one or more slot labels, the movie application could provide an "EXPAND" option 232 for expanding list of show times.
Buy Ticket: Each movie theater in list of movie theaters (302) could include "BUY TICKET" option 312 allowing a user to purchase one or more movie tickets. In addition, each movie theater in list of movie theaters could include option 314 that may provide the distance (e.g., number of miles) between the user's current location (e.g., the location of the electronic device) and the location of the movie theater.
Cross Checking Calendar Engagements
The movie application could determine that the time slot corresponding to slot label 504 of Patent FIG. 5 below is associated with a calendar event (e.g., "piano bar" with a start time of 12:00 am). In some embodiments, the movie application could determine that the time slot is associated with the calendar event based on an end time of the movie and the start time of the calendar event.
For example, the movie application could determine an end time of the movie corresponding to each assigned show time of the time slot. After determining the end times, the movie application could determine if one or more end times are within a pre-determined range (e.g., 30 minutes) of the start time of the piano bar engagement (e.g., 12:00 am).
For instance, the movie application could determine that the end time of the movie corresponding to a show time of 10:05 pm is 11:45 pm. As a result, the movie application could determine that the time slot is associated with the calendar event because the end time is within 30 minutes of the start time of the piano bar engagement.
Additionally, as noted in Apple's patent FIG. 7, Message 706 could include "YES" option and "NO" options (708 and 710). For example, the user may select the "YES" option to cancel the calendar event. Thus, in response to the user selecting the "YES" option, the movie application could remove one or more indications of time slots that were previously unavailable. If, on the other hand, the user selects the "NO" option, the movie application could remove the message from the screen.
Share Ticket Purchasing Information
A user may select option 808 noted below in FIG. 8 to specify whether the movie application could share purchasing information with one or more contacts. Thus, if the value of option 808 is set to "YES", the movie application could perform one or more actions in response to the user selecting to purchase a movie ticket.
For example, a user may select a "BUY TICKET" option to purchase one or more movie tickets for a particular movie. In response to receiving an instruction from the user to purchase one or more movie tickets, the movie application could automatically add information associated with the ticket purchases to a calendar. In some embodiments, in response to receiving the instruction, the movie application could present a display screen associated with a "BUY TICKET" option.
For example, In Apple's patent FIG. 9 below, we see a display screen 900 associated with a "BUY TICKET" option for a movie. The screen could include one or more contact options (902 and 904) which could be automatically generated by the movie application based on one or more factors. For example, if the movie application determines that a calendar event occurs within a pre-determined range of a start time or end time of the movie, the movie application could determine one or more participants of the calendar event. For instance, as shown in display screen 900, the movie application could determine that Bill and Sarah are two other participants for dinner. Thus, the movie application could automatically display contact options corresponding to these participants.
Today's published patent applicationfrom Apple was originally filed in Q4 2009 by inventors John Louch and Todd Ditchendorf. Apple's first patent on purchasing tickets for such things as concerts came to light in April 2010.
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