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.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 10.45.46 am
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).

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 10.50.41 am

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."

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

inlinevolvo Avatar
107 months ago
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).
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sransari Avatar
107 months ago
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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chimpboy74 Avatar
107 months ago
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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
2457282 Avatar
107 months ago
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:
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
singhjeet29 Avatar
107 months ago
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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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