Apple Looking to Patent iPhone Status Sharing System

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    According to a newly published Apple patent application (via AppleInsider), Apple is investigating methods to offer an iPhone status sharing system in which users can check the individual "status" of other iPhone users before calling them, similar to the "Away" feature already present in most instant messaging systems. The patent application, which is simply titled "Methods to determine availability of user based on mobile phone status" and lists Devrim Varoglu and Swapnil R. Dave as its inventors, describes a system whereby a request from one user's mobile phone is transferred to a remote server over a cellular network, which requests the operating status of the second mobile phone.

    The operating status of the second mobile phone is then displayed on the first mobile phone as part of the contact information of the "remote user", giving the user a quick status update on whether or not that particular iPhone user is available.

    The system would call upon several modules of both the device hardware and the operating system, as highlighted in the diagram filed in the patent above, such as the "operating mode" of the device (411), the user's time zone (412), the current GPS location (413), the received signal strength indicator (414), the condition of the device's Wi-Fi (415) and the battery charge level (416).


    This information would then be fed into a new "status sharing module", which would sit alongside the contacts module on both users' devices and the data would be transmitted across the network (the patent filing lists a cellular network, although it is presumed the new feature would also work over Wi-Fi as well) to a central registration module and phone status database. As in the case of iMessage, the new service would presumably be tied to the user's Apple ID or phone number in order to manage the statuses.

    Although the patent application was filed back in February of last year, it has not yet been officially granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Apple notes that the feature would be useful to consumers because "incoming voice calls to mobile devices can be intrusive under certain situations" and it is "desirable to allow callees to screen calls and decide in advance whether the calls warrant answering."

    Article Link: Apple Looking to Patent iPhone Status Sharing System
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2012
    Very interesting idea with the way that all the different data are aggregated.

    But I expect the "privacy queens" to be up in arms about this. :rolleyes:
  3. macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2008
    This would be nice to be notified that "Contact X is on wifi" so that I would easily know their eligible for FaceTime (audio) calls.

    We'll see if this ever sees the light of day.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2012
    No thanks. Unless its built with an off button. I reserve the right to screen my calls and lie to the caller about being busy because (insert reason).
  5. macrumors 68000

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA
    I am surprised that the NSA hasn't already pattened this. I mean dont they alread know what everyone's status is at all times? :eek::confused::D:cool:
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 12, 2007
    Maybe I don't get it (not out with the realms of possibility!) but If I don't want to be contacted I don't answer. Or turn my phone off.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Feb 11, 2005
    Seems interesting, but I would think battery consumption would increase if the status of your phone is constantly being reported (unless it already is and we don't know about it). And then if status is already being captured, not sure how this application would be allowed.
  8. macrumors member

    May 2, 2012
    Maybe with user set parameters, such as I set my phone to let others know I am facetime capable when on a specific wifi.

    While I see that I do like the idea of certain people (family and coworkers) knowing my preference for contact. Sometimes I would prefer to not be contacted but leave my phone on unsilenced in case someone has to call me. By setting an away message of sorts my wife could see that while im busy with this that or the other thing she can call me if x is happening. This is an option that would be nice to have available IMO.
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2012
    London, UK
    By the looks of it the phone only reports changes in status to a cloud server so should not cause too much extra battery use as most of the time status stays the same. Could be a nice feature though.
  10. macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2012
    You can sort of do a little of this already with iMessage. If you have a contact who's on iOS and the "send" button in Messages pops up green, it sometimes means they're offline. (This happens a lot here in NYC because people are in and out of the subway.)
  11. macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2010
    no thanks...

    Kinda creepy feature actually...
  12. macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2013
    I could see this as an extension of parental controls on iPhone already. Further, they could link it with the Do Not Disturb feature (expanding its functionality, of course), and make your iPhone's status an iOS-wide thing (Phone, iMessage, Contacts, Find Your Friends, FaceTime, etc.). Similarly, it could be set on a schedule, perhaps with more scheduling options.

    I've thought for a long time being able to know someone's 'status' like this would have a very interesting impact on interaction. Like, would I share a particular YouTube video with so-and-so if I knew they weren't available? Or would I go out of my way to email someone I haven't seen in a while simply because I know they're available?
  13. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    This would very cool from a "I'm calling you" feature. I can see what time it is where you are and remember not to call someone in LA at 6 AM EST because it's 3 AM their time.

    Or I could see that someone only has 2 bars and so I can know the quality of the call is going to be low or that their phone is about to die so I need to keep my call shorter than otherwise.
  14. macrumors 68030


    This is not dissimilar to the 'iMessage read' receipts. It's good for the initiator of the call (or message sender), but puts the receiver on the spot, a la: I know you're there, why don't you answer my bleepin' call.

    I mean, you don't always want to, or can, turn off your phone.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2013

Share This Page