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Apple wants your iPhone and Apple Watch to help you navigate indoor locations

Apple wants the Maps app on your iPhone and Apple Watch to help you more easily navigate indoor locations such as malls. The company has filed for a patent (number 10,560,810) for “proactive actions on a mobile device using uniquely-identifiable and unlabeled locations.”

In the patent filing, Apple notes that, as modern mobile devices become more integrated with modern day life, the number of apps stored on the gadgets increases. It’s not uncommon for modern mobile phones to have hundreds of applications. Apple says that having all these apps allow the device to be particularly useful; however, it may be difficult and time consuming for users to find and run a desired app.

Apple notes that some modern mobile devices are capable of predicting an app to a user to minimize the time it takes for the user to find a desired application to run. For instance, some modern devices can suggest an app when the device is positioned at a location according to the device’s GPS coordinates. 

However, using GPS coordinates to determine a location of the device limits the resolution at which the device can determine its position. What’s more, GPS service requires an established communication line with GPS satellites. If the connection between the device and the GPS satellites is severed, the device will be unable to receive GPS coordinates and thus be unable to determine its location to predict an application to the user. 

In addition to using GPS coordinates, some modern mobile devices also request an input from a user pertaining to location information. Floor plans, surveys, and the like can be entered into the device so that the device knows the general layout of an indoor location. However, inputting this information requires a survey to be performed, or requires a user to acquire a floor plan of the indoor location, which as Apple notes, can be a hassle and difficult to do, especially when the user doesn’t have the means to perform a survey or have access to the floor plan. 

The tech giant says that improvements to determining position in indoor locations and identifying an application for a user based upon the determined position are desired. Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “A method for identifying a suggested application on a mobile device is disclosed. The method includes detecting an event, determining a first location of the mobile device, identifying that the first location is within a first location region of a plurality of predetermined location regions, and then measuring one or more sensor values at one or more times. 

“The measured sensor values may then be used to create a first-data point. In response to identifying the first location region, a plurality of clusters of data points may be retrieved. A first cluster of the plurality of clusters corresponding to the first data point may then be identified. The method may further include identifying a set of one or more applications, and then providing a message to the user based on the identified set of one or more applications.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.