[Photo Credit: Wired UK]
Now that iOS6 has been out for five months, the world has moved beyond iOS6 and wants to embrace Apple’s newest OS announcement that will emerge this coming July. While Apple is not one to come out and tell what its future plans are, tech writers and media have a way of finding photos, news bytes, and other juicy details about what could be Apple’s future plans. While some of the news tech writers receive is accurate and true, there are other news bytes that involve Apple filing for ideas it does not plan to use. Some news has no bearing on the new phone or new company products that will emerge in the immediate future. By the time some products are released (years from now), most consumers will forget about the company’s patents.
Apple is not a stranger to patent applications. The company received 48 patents within the last week, and Cupertino just filed two patent applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office: (1) Identity Unlock and (2) Automatic Sound adjustment. The new Identity Unlock Patent would provide a lock screen where an individual has to identify the face of the individual on the display in order to unlock the screen. The Identity Unlock patent would replace the passcode that iOS users are forced to enter when their phones are in lock mode. Apple is constantly trying to find ways to protect its consumers from theft. This is yet another form of anti-theft protection that may work better than the passcode. It may also be easier to use than the passcode because iOS users would not have to remember a code (which they could forget easily).
The other patent filed is known as the automatic sound adjustment, a feature that would adjust sound for hearing aid patients so that they would not have to adjust their own volume when listening to music. This is important because hearing aid patients share iPods, iPads, and iPhones with non-hearing aid patients. Since hearing aid patients are audibly challenged, they should be accommodated with their physical challenges instead of excluded. It is no different from braille or sign language being used to accommodate blind and deaf patients.
Apple is using this audio accommodation patent in order to cater to its elderly customers. While Android users are teenagers and young adults (20s and 30s), the elderly are Apple customers. Elderly customers are loyal to Apple because of its ease of use. After all, it does not take much to operate a basic touchscreen phone (which the iPhone seems to be). Elderly customers struggle to learn new things, so an iPhone that has not changed over the last six years (2007-2013) provides a predictable smartphone setting for the elderly. Android, on the other hand, is an OS that takes some adjustment and time. After all, there are several main pages on an Android smartphone, rather than one or two pages for an iPhone. In addition, there are a lot fewer icons on an iPhone, whereas there are numerous icons available on Android smartphones. Widgets are another area where Android smartphones would make life more difficult for the elderly than for young adults.
These are two new features that will only create hype for iOS7. I think a good suggestion for Apple is to use their lock screen to create new hype for iOS7. The lock screen does not do much on Apple devices, while Android users can read news, check stocks, and stay in touch with Facebook RSS feeds on their lock screen.