Want your iPhone to switch to vibrate or mute in a meeting? Turn off notification and wireless when you enter a classroom? A newly uncovered Apple patent suggest that Apple is looking at enabling automatic profile switching, a much requested feature for the flagship smartphone since it was introduced in mid-2007, through the use of location. By using GPS, WiFi, and cellular triangulation for determining position and location, the self-aware iPhone will recognize where it is at, what environment it is in, and switch on the appropriate profile.
Though Apple files a number of patents every year, not all patents will result in commercialized products so it’s still unclear if Apple will enable this feature in a future iPhone model.
The patent for “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device” was first uncovered by Apple Insider. Potentially, you won’t even need to switch off your ringer when you enter a movie theater if the patent works in practice.
Apple has already begun to experiment with contextually aware notifications. With Siri’s reminder feature, you can set your home and work location so that you can tell Siri to remind you of a certain task when you are near or arriving at work, for example. Google is attempting to make Android smarter in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the Google Now feature, which anticipates your day based on your schedule.
Additionally, on Android, Motorola’s new phones come with an app called Smart Actions with built-in rules for either time or location to enable certain profiles or features automatically. Tasker is a third-party application that accomplishes a similar mission to Smart Actions.