How would you like to be able to point your iPhone towards an object – the Eiffel Tower, for example – and instantly see the admission price, working hours, its height and other information?
We’ve been hearing about such concepts for quite some time now – and we’ve been able to visualize it better since the movie Minority Report – but Apple’s latest iPhone related patents might make it a reality sooner than one would think.
A patent called ID App does just that; it recognizes an object based on visuals (through the iPhone’s camera), a RFID reader or through GPS, and then fetches the data from related databases. I like to imagine all this happening in real-time, with a layer of visual information superimposed on the actual camera image, but in the beginning it’ll probably just take you to a related Wikipedia page. Still, it’s a start.
Another patent focuses on facial recognition, which can also be used for a variety of purposes. It could bring you info about a person (scary, I know) just by pointing a camera at him; or it could be used for security, enabling only recognized users to use the device (even scarier; imagine your iPhone refusing to work after you’ve had a shave and a haircut). Whatever the implications, I’m really excited about these technologies, which would take the iPhone (and similar devices) to a completely different level.
Finally, Apple filed for patents for better voicemail management, changing the voice output, or filter obscene content from text messages. There’s an exciting future ahead; I just hope we won’t have to wait for another generation of iPhones to see these in practice. Check out Apple’s patent applications here.