Apple is famous for patenting “absolutely everything” and so it’s always interesting reading when an application shows up at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The latest to be published showed up today and reveals what Apple’s been working on the in background of its Maps app.
This patent shows some really useful new features which might eventually make their way out in to the open. Similar to Waze, the Maps app patent shows a user rated route system. If applied to the service, it would allow users to rate different routes to venues/addresses using a 5-star system. More depth can be added to the review by adding notes like “scenic route” or “light traffic”, as seen in the image below:
But that’s not all. The new Maps patent also reveals another much needed feature: real-time accident alerts. This aspect is also driven socially by users. Any user while on the road can use the maps app to report an accident, or high levels of traffic.
Once the user has arrived at the end of their journey, they will then be able to submit feedback on that route. Apple then uses the feedback to make small adjustments to the route if – for instance – the driver notes that it was too slow, or there weren’t any gas stations.
Now, while this is an interesting and potentially very useful patent, Apple may still decide not to use it. It was originally filed in December 2011, so it’s certainly not passed its expiry.
Do you see any of these features as necessary improvements, or would they just make the experience of using Maps a little too involved?