Apple ogles location-based iPhone ads

Patent app knows where you are


Apple has filed for a patent on a location-based interface that can display ads and facilitate purchases over your iPhone or iPod touch while you're out shopping.

The patent, "Graphical User Interface with Location-Specific Interface Elements," is designed to generate impulse buying and to ensure that purchases are made at Apple's iTunes Store.

Although the 49-page patent application #20090064056 covers location-based services in general, the ones described in most detail in the filing would enable users of Apple's WiFi-equipped handhelds and laptops to identify and purchase tunes, movies, videos, photos, and audiobooks while they are being played or displayed in a bricks-and-mortar store.

iPhone display: location-based ads

Starbucks could customize their ad to feature their own collections

The mobile devices' displays would change to match the content being listened to or viewed. An album cover or movie poster, for example, could be displayed. A Buy button could be double-tapped to purchase that item directly from the iTunes Music store.

One variant of the filing also envisions a device's location-detection capability triggering "establishment-specific display panels" - that's advertisements, in non-patentese.

The advantages to both Apple and the bricks-and-mortar store owner are many. Apple gets to induce purchases at the iTunes Store, and the store owner (presumably) gets a percentage kickback for facilitating that inducement on their premises, all without having to worry about real-world messiness such as inventory.

Retail-wise, it's a win-win. And for the shopper, it's a painless way to satisfy that iTunes jones - at least until the bill shows up at the end of the month.

The filing is also another step in Apple's growing interest in location awareness. There have been reports, for example, that the next version of Mac OS X, aka Snow Leopard, will be location-aware, based on the iPhone's CoreLocation Framework.

Laptop display: location-based ads

Your laptop could know that it's in Starbucks, as well as what tune it's listening to

In addition, Apple has added geotagging to the iPhoto app in its iLife '09 creativity suite, and filed a flurry of location-service patents this January.

While the Big-Brother aspects of location awareness can be a mite off-putting, the convenience that the technology can provide is inarguable. Imagine, for example, entering "Waring Tailgater" on your iPhone, and having it chirp as you pass an appliance store that offers that Professional Specialty Blender.

Or hearing a tune in a coffee shop, and rather than going crazy trying to remember its name, tapping your iPhone and being told the song's name, the artist who's performing it, what album it's from, when it was released, and who that kick-ass bass player is on that particular session.

There is, however, one absolute requirement for location-based technology: the ability to turn it off. Sometimes you'd prefer to be left alone, and not have anyone know where you are. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022