Feeds

Apple ogles location-based iPhone ads

Patent app knows where you are

The Power of One Infographic

Apple has filed for a patent on a location-based interface that can display ads and facilitate purchases over your iPhone or iPod touch while you're out shopping.

The patent, "Graphical User Interface with Location-Specific Interface Elements," is designed to generate impulse buying and to ensure that purchases are made at Apple's iTunes Store.

Although the 49-page patent application #20090064056 covers location-based services in general, the ones described in most detail in the filing would enable users of Apple's WiFi-equipped handhelds and laptops to identify and purchase tunes, movies, videos, photos, and audiobooks while they are being played or displayed in a bricks-and-mortar store.

iPhone display: location-based ads

Starbucks could customize their ad to feature their own collections

The mobile devices' displays would change to match the content being listened to or viewed. An album cover or movie poster, for example, could be displayed. A Buy button could be double-tapped to purchase that item directly from the iTunes Music store.

One variant of the filing also envisions a device's location-detection capability triggering "establishment-specific display panels" - that's advertisements, in non-patentese.

The advantages to both Apple and the bricks-and-mortar store owner are many. Apple gets to induce purchases at the iTunes Store, and the store owner (presumably) gets a percentage kickback for facilitating that inducement on their premises, all without having to worry about real-world messiness such as inventory.

Retail-wise, it's a win-win. And for the shopper, it's a painless way to satisfy that iTunes jones - at least until the bill shows up at the end of the month.

The filing is also another step in Apple's growing interest in location awareness. There have been reports, for example, that the next version of Mac OS X, aka Snow Leopard, will be location-aware, based on the iPhone's CoreLocation Framework.

Laptop display: location-based ads

Your laptop could know that it's in Starbucks, as well as what tune it's listening to

In addition, Apple has added geotagging to the iPhoto app in its iLife '09 creativity suite, and filed a flurry of location-service patents this January.

While the Big-Brother aspects of location awareness can be a mite off-putting, the convenience that the technology can provide is inarguable. Imagine, for example, entering "Waring Tailgater" on your iPhone, and having it chirp as you pass an appliance store that offers that Professional Specialty Blender.

Or hearing a tune in a coffee shop, and rather than going crazy trying to remember its name, tapping your iPhone and being told the song's name, the artist who's performing it, what album it's from, when it was released, and who that kick-ass bass player is on that particular session.

There is, however, one absolute requirement for location-based technology: the ability to turn it off. Sometimes you'd prefer to be left alone, and not have anyone know where you are. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.