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Apple Wins Patent for Next Generation Automated Location Services

1 - Cover, Apple patent for automated location services, 2011
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 15 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second patent report of the day, we focus entirely on a single patent which covers Apple's Next Generation Automated Location Services. These services will one day go far beyond simple GPS services and into the realm of consumer and public sector situational based location services that are far more reaching. 


Apple Wins Patent for Fully Automated Location Based Web Services


Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to a fully automated web service with location based services. Apple's patent FIG. 25 noted below illustrates a preferred embodiment of the main architectural web service components used to carry out novel functionality and how different user types interoperate with the web service through heterogeneous devices.


2 - Apple wins patent  for fully automated location based web services

More specifically, Apple's patent relates to location dependent delivery of information to mobile data processing systems and to a system for delivering situational location dependent content to data processing system devices traveling to locations for, or in directions of, that place which delivery content is designated as deliverable. Apple's invention provides transmission of situational location dependent information from a server data processing system (SDPS) to a receiving data processing system (RDPS).


In a preferred embodiment for enhancing mobile device locations, well known cell tower locations complement GPS coordinates received when locating devices. Cell tower or antenna triangulation, or cell tower communications information could further refine the whereabouts of mobile devices. An environment which couples multiple location technologies together could provide better accuracy for device locations.


Application Themes – Far Beyond Mere GPS


Depending on the application of the present invention, Apple states that the content and configurations could take on a variety of themes.


Application: Drumming up Business for Retailers


For example, in an outdoor wireless embodiment of the present invention, advertisement content could be configured by paying customer advertisers through an internet web interface, and then automatically delivered to people when the people are in a location, or heading path to a location, for reasonable delivery of the content to their automobile installed, or handheld, RDPS.


For example, as a driver or pedestrian (i.e. user) approaches a retail store with a mobile RDPS, a configured advertisement of a special deal at the retail store could be proactively delivered (i.e. pushed) to the user automatically on behalf of the store. Likewise, an indoor wireless embodiment of the present invention enables the driver or pedestrian, now a shopper inside the store, to receive configured content to a shopping cart mounted, or handheld, RDPS directing the shopper to specific sales items as the shopper moves about the inside of the store.


Application: Assistance to Law Enforcement


In another application, a policeman may activate a mobile police automobile device (i.e. RDPS) in a police car for automatic delivery of a person's criminal record as the policeman drives by the location of a person's house. The police establishment configures criminal record content or pointers thereto, along with the location of the residence that is believed to harbor the person with a record. As the policeman drives by locations with addresses of known offenders, the RDPS displays applicable criminal data.


Application: Automated Tour Bus Guides


In another application, a traveling vehicle, for example a touring bus, carries tourists for a narrated drive through a geographic area. Currently, there are human narrators for providing narration of sites and landmarks to people of the narrated drive. The present invention allows configuring deliverable content for locations on the touring bus path so that an automated narrator RDPS installed in the bus could be provided to people on the bus. For example, an RDPS providing audio, video, multimedia, or combination thereof, communicates narration content to people on the touring bus automatically as locations are encountered, or driven by.


Application: Amusement Park Attractions Guide


In another application, a person attending a large park (e.g. Disney World (Disney World is a trademark of Walt Disney corporation)) could simply carry a RDPS, and receive content to a handheld device for what attraction lies ahead based on the current location and direction of the person. The person would not have to consult a directory or ask where to find something. Informative content would be proactively delivered, rather than reactively in response to a person's manual query to a service, or question to a human being.


Application: Public Services like Amber Alert


In yet a further example, a valuable use would be for emergencies such as when a child is kidnapped. Currently, there is an Amber-Alert mechanism in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Tex. where radio stations broadcast an emergency message along with a distinguishable series of tones. This enables any pertinent information known about the kidnapper and child to be broadcast immediately to everyone with the radio on. The present invention enables the emergency broadcast to be immediately configured and then communicated to everyone with a RDPS, for example with a wireless internet connection. A picture of the victim and other multimedia information could be delivered along with audio immediately.


Application: Assisting the Modern Day "Garage Sale" Hunter


In still a further use of the present invention, garage sale and estate sale advertisements could be configured on behalf of paying customers that would otherwise use a newspaper classified section. As drivers become in reasonably close proximity to the sale, in the desired time window, advertisement content would be proactively delivered to a wireless RDPS installed, or handheld, in the automobile.


Apple's First Claim: A data processing method comprising: determining a first situational location with a first automatically detected location of a first mobile data processing system; receiving content from said first mobile data processing system; determining a region around said detected location of said first mobile data processing system, wherein said region is defined by a circle having a radius that is user configurable; determining a second situational location with a second automatically detected location of a second mobile data processing system, where said second mobile data processing system has a predefined relationship to said first mobile data processing system and the relationship is known to the data processing system, or a second user of said second mobile data processing system has a predefined relationship to a first user of said first mobile data processing system, and the relationship is known to the data processing system; determining that said second mobile data processing system is within said region; and sending said content to said second mobile data processing system.


To review Apple's other twenty-one patent claims and invention detailing, see granted patent 8,073,565. Apple credits William Johnson as the sole inventor of this patent. While the patent notes its last filing was made in Q3 2010, the history of the patent actually dates all the way back to Q3 2002. Note: Sites covering our report should only use our cover graphic for their reports. Thanks.  


Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.


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