Apple Patent Discusses Adding Contacts to Home Screen, Introduce Proximity-Based Advertising

Apple to bring proximity based advertising to iPhone

Earlier this month, we had written about a patent filed by the company which sought to bring a feature similar to Google Latitude on iPhone that would enable users to be notified when one of their friends are in the vicinity. 

In a new patent filed yesterday, the company seeks to take it a step further. 

In the patent, Apple has described a feature that will enable users to put specific contacts from their address book as icons on the Home Screen. Tapping on this icon should take the users to the contact screen where they may initiate a call, schedule a meeting or send an SMS.

Apple to bring proximity based advertising to iPhone

The feature is not just limited to friends and family contacts. This technology has a wider commercial angle to it. Apple is also apparently looking at getting local businesses get in touch with users with their business information. For instance, when a user walks by a local coffee shop, they might be notified with the contact information, which can be saved as any other address book contact on the Home Screen. These businesses may also provide discount offers and other promo messages to users when they are in the vicinity. Apple says these notifications can be done either via GPS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Apple to bring proximity based advertising to iPhone

At the outset, this appears to be a feature that can intrude the users privacy. However, Apple has emphasized that only "contact capable" users shall be able to receive these messages. That would mean, users may turn off notifications if they choose to. 

The patent makes us look at Apple's recent acquisition of the mobile advertising company, Quattro Wireless with a fresh perspective. It is likely that Quattro's technology is put to use in order to get the local businesses sign up for Apple's new proximity based advertising model. 

What do you think? 

[Being Manan via MacRumors]

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  • Jerry G

    I think advertising is getting out of hand and in your face. There is nothing "cool" or "good" about this. In fact it's just another way to annoy us with a pop up. I truly hope this feature has an off button.

  • Other than big cities, is there a market in smaller metro areas for this local advertising?

  • Sean

    Regardless of whether or not there is an off button, I'm selling my phone if they ever do anything like this. I just can't support a company that does this sort of thing.

  • kDub

    even tho i really dislike 'in-your-face' advertising, i think this could be a niche-market for apple. no body else is really doing anything like there are tons of iphone users out there that like iphone-specific things…'just because'.
    and if a business or small business could offer special promos or discounts based on this proximity triggered ad, i'm sure they would also see more traffic..and since it only pops up when users enable it, it could help users take advantage of discounts when available.
    i think the economy could benefit from this new technology.

  • kDub far as annoying'll probably be only as annoying as the WiFi popping up when ur around businesses. isn't WiFi pretty much 'proximity-based'?

  • Sean

    The Wifi popup is one of my biggest gripes with the iphone. I wish there was just a way to only notify about known networks. I leave wifi off most of the time because of it.

  • kDub

    i just don't see the problem there..

    once you leave the area, the popup goes away.

    besides..most smartphones have popups for WiFi..isn't the whole point of it for convenience?

  • Devin

    Though it could get obnoxious, the fact that you will be able to turn it off is good-

    Plus, if done right, the ads might even be an interesting feature.
    That is, if it doesn't kill your battery

  • Jose

    Wow, when they were talking about putting stickers on windows that could be scanned for info, I mentioned something similar, only I was thinking mire in the lines of an FM type transmission sending video advertising apposed to having to walk up to a building to scann a sticker like some lost retard lol, maybe there is hope, the next step would be to use a proxi device in meusiums & other attractions, could be a first step to changing the way attractions function, sounds cool!!