Is Apple building its own location aware application? A recent patent filed by the company has revealed the development of a new technology that will enable iPhone users to share their location data with their friends and family with the help of a native iPhone application.
So how does this software work?
The patent filed by Apple reads:
"Geographic location data is sent from a first device to a second device with a modified message to signal the presence of geographic location data associated with the message. The message can include (or attach) the geographic location data or file, or the message can include a link to a network-based resource which the second device can use to obtain the geographic location data. In some implementations, when a user of the first device views a location on a map display of the first device, a graphical user interface is presented to allow the user to select an option to share the geographic location with the second device."
The application being developed by Apple also incorporates a chat interface for users to share location details via SMS or IM. Overall, the application does exactly what Google Latitude does. Readers might remember the long drawn battle between Google and Apple last year over the latter's rejection of Google's iPhone apps, including Google Latitude. The publication of this patent explains the possible reason why Apple rejected the Google Latitude app.
This also possibly explains other developments at Cupertino in the recent past over their maps application. Apple had acquired Google Maps rival, Placebase back in July of 2009 and we had also recently speculated on Apple's strategies with respect to maps-related technology in the background of a job posting which read:
"We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We've only just started."
The buzzwords like 'high interactivity' in the job posting seem to be making much more sense now. Anyway, location sharing applications are no longer a novelty, but we would like to hear from you about how you see Apple's entry affecting the segment. Do you see this feature coming in the next version of the iPhone? Please tell us in the comments.
[via Patently Apple]