Another Apple patent today, and another out-of-the-box idea. U.S Patent and Trademark Office describes a new Apple patent, which elaborates a technology enabling an iPhone or an iPad (connected cellular) to provide location and path information from another Apple device, post authorization.

You could visualize it like a path mapping, where one user can track and follow the first one in real time. One extremely useful application is tracking location of a person you need to meet in an unfamiliar city, live.

Access can be granted to streaming map data via Bluetooth or cellular networks or iCloud accounts. The Find My Friends app that Apple has location sharing, comes with a set of constraints- one of them being current location is only shared for a brief time window, but this patent adds multiple point recording that can be joined together to form a route, making it an effective and a powerful navigation aid, directions will be dynamically generated on the person who is following the route of the first one.

It can also be a two way street- the streamed data of the first user to the second user, along with revealing the position of the second device with respect to the generated route using a suitable UI. Another facet of the patent reveals something called ‘Mirroring’- where the second device can ‘mirror’ exactly what the first person is looking at- Maps data, points of interest being a couple of them.

The route navigation is better appreciated if we stop and consider abruptly changing landscapes or uncharted areas. Search and rescue missions can have a field day with this, literally.


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