Apple plans location-aware iPhone homescreen

Apple plans location-aware iPhone homescreen

iPhone patentHere’s something interesting cooking in Apple’s labs. A recently unearthed Apple patent reveals the idea of a location-aware iPhone homescreen.

Replacing the current grid of icons, this homescreen would provide local information based on your current whereabouts. The patent, reported by ReadWriteWeb, describes a homescreen for San Francisco, complete with access to local weather, maps, time and contacts (the standard address book with people nearby brought to the fore).

A nice additional touch is that wallpaper would change based on your location too – so you may get the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Obviously, all this data would be a pain for Apple to have to compile for every small town in every country so much of this location-specific data would have to be set up by the user first.

Of course, this is just a patent – it may never make it into the iPhone firmware, patent applications for all sorts of bizarre ideas are submitted by companies on a regular basis even if there are no immediate plans to do anything with them. Still, it’s interesting to see how Apple is thinking.

They’re not the only ones thinking this way – contextual content based on location will be a big thing in mobile soon. A number of Android and Symbian apps exist that run continually in the background, for example to remind you to buy the milk when you’re near the supermarket. With iPhone apps unable to run in the background, its good to see Apple is considering having core parts of the OS like the homescreen (which are ‘always on’) provide location awareness.

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