Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be developing a new iPhone feature, one that prevents accidental activation of the mobile device when kept in the back pocket or more popularly known as “butt dialing”. Butt dialing, which has launched a thousand excuses for inexplicably calling unwanted contacts, has always been an old problem for many users, one that goes back to the first gen iPhone.
The news came after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published that Apple has filed a patent for a feature that eliminates pocket dialing. Titled “detecting stowing or unstowing of a mobile device,” the new feature puts a stop to butt dialing using a technology that can leverage context.
The technology is designed to predict certain behaviors thus, preventing the device from waking up prematurely. The new feature can predict a user’s intent and prepare itself for use accordingly. The bad news? You’d have to pair the iPhone with a wearable, such as an Apple Watch.
As described in the patent, both devices work together to utilize data from the wearable and unwanted dialing. The filing also noted that, “predicting other behavior would be just as trivial: notifications about emails, which often format poorly to the smart-watches, would likely motivate the use of a paired phone.”
The filing describes the technology as having a myriad of sensors that supplements data. How this works is anyone’s guess but the patent suggests that a paired mobile device could “correlate” physical data such as detecting the difference between the distance of a smartphone kept in a bag or purse versus back pocket as well as acceleration to enable the power down, lock, or power-saving modes.
As with all cases of patent filing, there is no guarantee that the feature will make it to the next reiteration of the iPhone particularly since Apple is notorious for filing all applications imaginable. However, it’s interesting to see how the company will attempt to resolve the problem for good.
Apart from putting a stop to butt dialing as a universal excuse for drunkenly contacting an ex, Apple is also gearing up to developing a home entertainment device similar with Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Echo but powered by personal assistant and knowledge navigator Siri.
The project – which has been two years in the making – has now moved on to testing, according to a Bloomberg report. The Siri-powered smart home entertainment system can control everything in your home including the locks and curtains through voice activation. Again, there’s no saying if this technology will see the light of day and there is always the possibility that Apple could nix the project entirely. That said however, and given the success of Echo and the possibility that Amazon could have in terms of grabbing a big chunk of this vital market by the time it matures, it would be surprising if Apple didn’t see this thing through. This would also mark Cupertino’s first major new hardware release in a long time, at least in terms of a new product category.
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