A new patent has been granted to Apple. The patent, issued by the USPTO, provides potential callers with information about your availability. Information is gathered by your time zone, ringer status, cell network strength, and even your location and battery life. All of this information would be used to broadcast a person’s availability to receive a call.
Signals will be used to determine your call availability and display the information to your contacts.
Currently, the patent looks like it will only work when used with Apple phones, so callers on other networks would not be able to use the same functionality – yet. Appearing in contact cards, availability status would be updated in real-time. While still new, this technology has the potential to be highly accurate based off of the gathered signals.
One concern among potential users deals with privacy. Apple has not discussed their plans for the patent, but many users want to have very strict sharing controls on their availability.
Interestingly, the patent was filed in 2012, so Apple has yet to use the technology despite working on it for three years. There is a good chance that the technology has been deemed not viable by the company, or they are still testing the availability feature internally.