We’ve been pondering for a while what Apple would do with something like mobile advertising and augmented reality, and it seems Apple officially has their ideas on paper. 9 to 5 Mac suggests that because of a mobile device’s nature to know where it is at all times, Apple could do things like display relevant information about a business as you walk by.
Patently Apple elaborates:
Apple’s patent delivers systems, methods and computer program products to enable content, such as applications, to automatically appear and disappear on a mobile device depending on the location of the device. This permits a user to view and/or interact with applications associated with a particular location. These features enable the mobile device to make applications available when and where they are most useful to users.
In another example of a temporary location-specific app, a user entering a library with their iPhone could be presented with a temporary location based app that enables the user to search the library’s digital card catalog. Upon exiting the library the application may be automatically removed such that the application is not permanent on the user’s iPhone. These features enable the mobile device to make applications available when and where they are most useful to users. …Whether this service will be a MobileMe based service extension or not is unknown at this time.
Essentially as you near “a location” (a public business), you’ll have an app available on your iPhone that you can interact with. This app might contain store deals, what books are available in the library, new products hitting shelves, etc. Now I imagine a world where I can walk by Best Buy, and if I see a good deal I must have, I can purchase that product on my iPhone before walking in the store to pick it up.
At the same time, something like this raises privacy concerns. Do we really want businesses to have access to our phones? Would they be able to see what kinds of things we’re buying if we use Apple’s Transaction system? Would businesses tailor their products to our interests ala Facebook style? It raises some interesting questions that’ll be sorted out in due time, but Apple’s goal to integrate into every aspect of your financial life currently doesn’t rest easy with me.