updated 08:25 pm EDT, Thu May 13, 2010
Apps would appear based on location information
The US Patent and Trademark Office has published a patent application filed by Apple for technology related to location-specific apps. The system could be used to display certain content only when the device is at or near a particular location.
The patent application differentiates itself from current location-based services, such as mapping applications, by suggesting that location information can be used in new ways beyond pre-installed or permanent apps.
Included diagrams show several examples of location-based applications. One view shows an iPhone interface with a Library Catalog app that automatically presents itself when a user enters a library, providing a quick method to browse the entire catalog. Other embodiments would allow users to view sale items in a retail store, view menus at restaurants, or track estimated wait times for table seating.
Apple initially filed for the patent in November of 2008. The company has yet to announce if or when the technology might be implemented into the iPhone or iPad OS.