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Apple Awarded Patent That Lets Users Share Content With Others While on Hold

Apple was awarded a U.S. patent on Tuesday that appears to covers a way for iPhone users to share content with each other when phone calls are placed on hold.

The patent, number 8,494,123, is for an "on-hold visual menu from a user's communication device" and describes a system that shares a variety of content like pictures, music, videos, upcoming calendar events, and location information to the person that is being put on hold. For example, someone put on hold could look through the other caller's public Photo Stream.

Patent Filing 1
The device determines that the party has been placed on hold and that the user has enabled sharing of personal content with the party. The device then transmits a visual menu to a communications device of the party via a data network, to allow the party to select a type of personal content to receive from the device while the party is on hold. When the device receives a selection from the party's device indicating the type of personal content, it transmits a personal information asset to the party's device according to the type of personal content indicated by the selection. Other embodiments are also described and claimed.
Additionally, privacy settings allow certain types of data, such as location or photos, to be limited within a specific group of people (for example, family members) while automatically sharing other content with all users placed on hold. Content can also be personalized to each specific caller.

When an iPhone owner is ready to continue a call, an on screen message, audible tone, or vibration will occur, alerting the on-hold user that the call will be resumed.

Patent Filing 2As with all Apple patents, there is no guarantee that the on-hold sharing feature will make it into a final product.

Top Rated Comments

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14 months ago
Bob Smith, who are you, and what have you done with John Appleseed?
Rating: 27 Votes
14 months ago
Oh my god, patents are the most stupid thing on earth. I don't know how you can breath easily in US - there is no patent for TAKING A BREATH? You're not paying, so you can't use that feature...
Rating: 21 Votes
14 months ago
You know what else works. Having patience until the party can resume the call. Or call back.

Also I've heard that iMessage, WhatsApp, Email and other such apps can send pictures, video, audio, etc while you're not only on hold - but during the call as well. AMAZING!
Rating: 13 Votes
14 months ago
This makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a pencil… brb,

agghghghhhh... Yhar wss a misrake! Stipod patemwts!
Rating: 8 Votes
14 months ago
When someone puts me on a hold, I'm expecting to have to wait less than 30 seconds before hanging up. If someone starts streaming a picture slideshow or a video to me, I'm probably hanging up as soon as it starts.
Rating: 7 Votes
14 months ago

Exactly! They ruin progress


More like protect ideas from being stolen from someone else...:rolleyes:
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago
I just peed a little? :cool:
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago

More like protect ideas from being stolen from someone else...:rolleyes:


No! That's exactly what's wrong with the patent system!

People are patenting ideas, or concepts, or approaches! They should be patenting products. They have no intention, or even ability, to turn their ideas into any form of reality, but are patenting in order to simply stop others from doing it, or worse extract money from the people who actually put their idea into practice.

Let's say I have the idea for an anti-gravity drive.

I patent the concept (i.e. idea ) of 'a device for producing an equal and opposite force to any gravitational field applied to it'.

Now what? I've basically got no clue how to do this, but I'm essentially stopping people who can make an anti-gravity drive from doing so, as they know I'll just sue them the second I feel they're rich enough.

How is the patent system helping in that case?

Do you think the patent for the telephone was 'a way of speaking to someone else over long distances', or the actual technology behind making a telephone call?

In this case, if Apple had a new way of actually sending data that was unique then yes, I can see the use of a patent. But here they've simply patented a situation in which you might want to automatically send data. It's essentially patenting doing something if something else happens! An automatic reaction to an event! IF x THEN send data.

x can be literally millions of things.

x = Message failed to arrive (Text return receipt.)

x = User left office (Geofencing.)

x = User changes password (Your password's been reset email.)

x = Someone's on hold, send them a picture? Oh, let's patent that!

Can you really not see how ridiculous this is becoming?

Is Apple's idea clever? Yes.

Is it neat? Yes.

Is it what the patent system is there for? Absolutely not!

Apple is not alone in this. It is an endemic problem. But people need to realise that Apple is a huge company, and it does a lot of things - some great, some good, some bad. This is bad.

We need to be adults and realise that just because we like Apple as a whole and the great stuff it does, we don't have to defend everything it does.

We can hate the bad stuff Apple does and still be an Apple supporter.

In fact, if you truly want Apple to continue to improve as a company, that's exactly what you should do.
Rating: 4 Votes
14 months ago
Why is this "patent" awarded?

The USPTO is basically a joke nowadays, filled with little nerds who couldn't get a high paying job out of school, so they try to curry favors by approving such nonsense in the hope that after a few of these approvals they can make the jump to a corporation like Apple.

And yes, "patents" like this (many would actually fail in court) are stifling innovation and Apple has become one of the worst patent trolls.
Rating: 4 Votes
14 months ago

Content sharing while on hold is a pretty specific idea and is one that isn't implemented anywhere right now. Sounds like a pretty legit patent to me.


Really? I've got a Lumia 920, I can put someone on hold and send whatever to them (or anyone else for that matter) by MMS. Thinking about it, I'm fairly sure my old N95 could do it too... There's absolutely no innovative step here so far as I can see...
Rating: 4 Votes

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