New York – Three new patent applications that just became public on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website reveal that Apple is now patenting ideas for mobile applications. Specifically, these patents applications describe iPhone apps that would aid in making travel arrangements, booking hotels and shopping.
The patent applications were uncovered this morning by wireless news site Unwired, which called the development “scary” and equated Apple to a patent troll. If granted, these apps would allow Apple to patent ways in which mobile applications function, including everything from mobile boarding passes to store locator functions.
Here’s what each app would do:
The travel application would help users make reservations, create an itinerary, view airport guides and information, use mobile boarding passes, check-in to flights remotely, access in-flight services, send and receive automatic arrival notifications and browse and send travel guides and promotions. The app would also have built-in social networking to aid in finding nearby friends or others in the vicinity interested in socializing.
The hotel application would allow a user to check in and check out via the app, order hotel services (e.g. making reservations at the spa, ordering or pre-ordering room service, scheduling wake up calls, etc.) book tickets for nearby attractions, schedule reminders and control room settings even when away from the room (think AC or audio and video equipment). The app could also be used as a universal remote control for the hotel room’s TV and video equipment and could suggest programming choices based on stored user profile information.
The mobile shopping application focuses on connecting users to high fashion. The app would send invitations and reminders regarding fashion events, display fashion ads, allow the user to browse through inventory of stores, offer a store locator function, recommend items and check for availability, and display ratings and reviews for stores. Social networking is incorporated into this app, too, allowing friends to provide feedback on fashion items. The app could also provide details on items snapped using the phone’s camera.