The Organic Marketer


Apple’s Location-Based Content Patent: One Step From “Minority Report?”

 

Imagine your favorite cup of coffee waiting for you as walk in the door -- location-based services allow your relative location to be detected and your phone to serve as the interface.

Imagine your favorite cup of coffee waiting for you as walk in the door -- location-based services allow your relative location to be detected and your phone to serve as the interface.

The Apple universe was abuzz in a minor way mid to late last week with news of patent that was published in December 2007, but now somehow arrived on the radar of the Apple/iPhone faithful. One of the best examples can be found at popular rumor site, MacRumors.com (see story here), complete with a mockup of an application from Starbucks that can be used to order your favorite coffee beverage without ever interacting with one of their staff!

The gist of this patent is that sometime in the future, your iPhone will be able to detect when it is within range of a special application server and that same server will be able to interact with your iPhone. In the example given, you can custom-order (and, presumably, pay for) that latte just the way you like it without going to the ordering counter. Your order is taken and processed via the special server and your order is announced for pick-up a few minutes later.

Imagine, a few these uses for this new technology:

  • Never go through a drive-through again: Simply enter the parking lot and select from the online menu presented on your phone or even access a history of your previous, favorite orders.
  • Purchase your movie ticket while still in the parking lot: If the server sent back a bar coded message, your virtual ticket would be scanned by the teenage guy taking tickets and you’re quickly bypassing those with paper tickets.
  • Check your connection information at an airport: Quickly discover what gate you need to go to while still sitting in your plane seat; even get directions, find out how much time you have until boarding and see the bathrooms or food stops along the way.
  • As you arrive for a class at a facility, get parking directions: If a certain lot is full, the server will redirect you and even give you that fastest or easiest (your choice!) directions to the class.

The possibilities are endless, indeed. And with Apple’s plans to have tens of millions of U.S. iPhones within the next year and a half — with even more being sold worldwide — it won’t be long before we think of that familiar scene in the popular movie, “The Minority Report,” where Tom Cruise’s character’s eyes are continually scanned by remote detectors and custom advertising is targeted to his stored preferences.

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