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‘Situationally’ aware phone patent could prohibit theater texting

Posted at 5:26 PM, Aug 29, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-29 17:30:22-04

Apple has won a patent that if installed, could control your phone when you enter certain locations.

The specific language of the patent addresses “Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event.”

The patent states that the enforcement could be useful for a variety of reasons.

  • To disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices, such as at a movie theater
  • For preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices, such as in academic settings
  • For forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.

Apple Insider said that the invention would use GPS, cellular triangulation and WLAN communication to change the phone into a “situationally” aware phone. 

View Patent No. 8,254,902  here.

The patent also notes that while the invention can be used to enforce restrictive policies, it would still allow for certain functions like emergency notifications to exist. 

Read more on Apple Insider.

The implications could over time become more complex, if and when Apple decides to use the technology. What do you think about an option like this? Tell us in the comments.