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Future iPhones and Apple Watches could suggest services based on your location and daily routine

Future iPhones and Apple Watches could suggest services based on where you are, as evidenced by a newly granted patent (number 10,791,419) for “determining a significant user location for providing location-based services.

As Apple notes in the patent data, many electronic devices have location-based functions. For example, an iPhone can estimate a location of the mobile device using a satellite navigation system (e.g., global positioning system or GPS) or a cell phone system. The smartphone can perform various tasks that are location specific. 

For example, a map app can cause the iPhone to display a map. A marker on the map can indicate a current location of the mobile device. Upon receiving a user input selecting the marker, the smartphone can display points of interests, e.g., restaurants or gas stations, that are close to the current location. 

Then, upon receiving a user input specifying a destination, the iPhone can display a route from the current location to the destination, and an estimated time of arrival based on traffic information on the route. This process also applies to the Apple Watch.

Apple’s goal is to take it a step further by allowing devices to learn a movement pattern and adapt itself to that movement pattern. The iPhone or Apple Watch can provide predictive user assistance based on the movement pattern without requiring additional user input, including. For example, it can alert a user of traffic conditions while the user is en route to a significant location if the mobile device determines, based on past movement patterns of the mobile device, that a user will visit the significant location, even when the mobile device didn’t receive a user inquiry. 

Apple says this means that a user of the mobile device may have a better experience using services, especially location-based services, of the mobile device. For example, the mobile device can determine that a user usually goes from home to work at 8:00 am on weekdays and from home to a gymnasium at 8:00 am on weekends. Upon being turned on shortly before 8:00 am, on weekdays, the mobile device can automatically display traffic information on a route from home to work; whereas on weekends, the mobile device can automatically display traffic information on a route from home to the gymnasium. 

Here’s the summary of the invention: “Systems, methods, and program products for providing services to a user by a mobile device based on the user’s daily routine of movement. The mobile device determines whether a location cluster indicates a significant location for the user based on one or more hints that indicate an interest of the user in locations in the cluster. 

“The mobile device can perform adaptive clustering to determine a size of area of the significant location based on how multiple locations converge in the location cluster. The mobile device can provide location-based services for calendar items, including predicting a time of arrival at an estimated location of a calendar item. The mobile device can provide various services related to a location of the mobile device or a significant location of the user through an application programming interface (API).

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.