Apple patent reflects location-based iPhone service
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Apple patent reflects location-based iPhone service

An Apple patent (number 20100120450) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office that hints at a location-based service for the iPhone. It relates to location specific content on a mobile device.

Systems, methods, and computer program products communicate location information associated with a device, such as a mobile device, to a server. Content identified by the server is received at the device, from the server and/or from a content service. The content can include an application associated with the location information. The content received at the device is displayed on the device only while the device is at or near a particular location identified by the location information. The inventor is Scott Herz.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Mobile devices have grown more powerful and feature-rich and now include such features as personal digital assistant (PDA) capabilities, cameras, Internet access, Wi-Fi access, etc. Software applications may be stored and/or run on mobile devices in the same or similar manner as such applications are run on laptop or desktop computers. Unlike conventional cumbersome computers, the mobility of such devices enables applications that provide features based on the mobility of such devices. For instance, location-based services have been developed for determining and tracking the locations of users of mobile devices.

"Location-based services provide location-specific information to mobile devices. For instance, a mobile device user can use a mapping program and global positioning system (GPS) data to identify the location of the mobile device on a map of a geographic region. Use of mapping software requires that the software be previously installed on the device such that it is operable in any location.

"Despite the mobile nature of such devices, and the ability of such devices to know their location and/or access networks (e.g., via public or private Wi-Fi), users are still restricted to applications that are installed on the device, or which the user has decided to install for permanent use.

"In one aspect, systems, methods, apparatuses and computer program products are provided that enable content, such as applications, to appear and disappear on a mobile device depending on the presence of a mobile device within a Wi-Fi network, and/or based on a location of the device.
"In one aspect, methods are disclosed, which include steps such as: communicating location information associated with a device to a server; receiving at the device content identified by the server, the content comprising an application associated with the location information; and presenting the received content on a display of the device only while the device is at or near a particular location identified by the location information.

"According to some features, the method can include removing the presentation of the content when the device is no longer at or near the particular location. Receiving the content can include receiving the content from a content service, the content service identified by the server.

"Alternatively or additionally, the content can be received from the server. According to another feature, the content identified by the server can include a uniform resource locator (URL), a web clip, or an application. The application can be associated with the particular location. The location information can be identified and/or received from a positioning system. The positioning system can: derive the location information from satellite data received from a plurality of satellites, use dead reckoning to derive the location information; or use a wireless signal strength of the device to derive the location information. According to yet another feature, the location information can be identified by communication of the mobile device with a wireless access point.

"In another aspect, methods are disclosed, which include steps such as: receiving, at a mobile device, beacon data from a wireless access point, wherein the beacon data comprises a URL; when the mobile device is within a range of the wireless access point, presenting content on the mobile device associated with the URL; and upon user selection of the content, receiving an application for execution on the mobile device.

"According to some features, the method can include executing the application. The application, in some features, may be executed only if the mobile device is within the geographical range of the wireless access point. According to another feature, the method can include receiving the user selection at the mobile device. According to yet another feature, the method can include removing the content presentation when the mobile device is no longer within the range of the wireless access point. The wireless access point can include a Wi-Fi access point. Receiving an application can include receiving an application from a content service, and/or from the wireless access point. The application can include a web clip.

"In yet another aspect, a system is disclosed. The system includes: a positioning system operable to derive location information associated with a device; a location mapping service operable to store content associated with one or more locations of the device; a communications interface operable to communicate location information associated with the device to a server, the communications interface being further operable to receive at least some of the content from the server based on the location information; and a user interface operable to present the received content on the device when the device is at or near a location identified by the location information.

"According to a feature, the content includes a URL or a web clip. The content can alternatively or additionally include video content, picture content, audio content, multimedia content or routing content associated with a geographical area within a proximate distance to the device based on the location information. According to another feature, the user interface is operable to present the received content on the device only when the device is at or near a location identified by the location information. The location information can be identified and/or received from a positioning system. The positioning system can: derive the location information from satellite data received from a plurality of satellites, use dead reckoning to derive the location information; or use a wireless signal strength of the device to derive the location information.

"According to still another aspect, a system is disclosed. The system includes: a wireless access point, the wireless access point transmitting beacon data comprising a URL; a mobile device operable to receive the beacon data when the mobile device is within a range of the wireless access point; and a user interface operable to display content on the mobile device, the content associated with the URL.

"According to a feature, the system can also include an application for execution on the mobile device upon user selection of the content. The content can include a URL, a web clip, video content, picture content, audio content, multimedia content, and/or routing content associated with a geographical area within a proximate distance to the device based on the location information. According to another feature, the user interface is operable to display the content on the mobile device only when the mobile device is at or near the wireless access point.

"Systems, methods and computer program products enable content, such as applications, to automatically appear and disappear on a mobile device depending on the location of the device. This permits a user to view and/or interact with applications associated with a particular location. As an example, a user who enters a library with a mobile device may be presented with an application on the device that enables the user to search the library's digital card catalog. Upon exiting the library the application may be automatically removed such that the application is not permanent on the user's mobile device. These features enable the mobile device to make applications available when and where they are most useful to users."

 
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