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.
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.
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?