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Apple Invents a Method for the iPhone to Locate Friends, Family and/or Colleagues within Buildings like a Mall

10.4 - Patent Application


Apple notes in a newly published patent application that mobile devices are often configured with hardware and software for determining a location of mobile devices. Typical location determining mechanisms use signals received from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), cellular transceivers and other wireless technologies. Often these location determining mechanisms work well outdoors but have limited effectiveness in indoor locations. Today, Apple reveals a solution for this which involves location sharing between two devices in an indoor environment. In 2013 Apple acquired WiFiSLAM that owned technology that stemmed from a Stanford University project that we noted in a 2014 report titled "Apple and Google Headed for an Indoor Location Services War." Since that time Apple has filed other patent applications like one relating to seamless transition between outdoor and indoor location tracking for vehicles within Parkades (indoor parking). Today's patent filing from Apple covers location sharing between devices within an office building or mall.


The bottom line of this invention is that it will allow a user of a mobile device to quickly determine the current location of a friend or family member inside a building by requesting that the friend's mobile device transmit the location of the friend's mobile device to the user. A user of a mobile device can quickly determine a path along which a friend has traveled through a building.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below illustrates an example graphical user interface of a mobile device for enabling location sharing with other mobile devices; FIG. 2 illustrates an example graphical user interface for requesting the current location of a contact.



Apple's patent FIG. 13 illustrates an example system for determining a path that a target mobile device has taken through a building. Apple's patent claims note that the invention uses Bluetooth low energy signals, the same technology that's used in iBeacons.


Apple's patent application 20150181548 is broken down into informative segments which are clearly titled Enabling Location Sharing; Requesting Contact's Location; Determining a Contact's Location; Determining Area in which Device is Located; Example Processes and Example System Architecture. To review this invention further, click here.


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