A whole bunch of new patents were just released by Apple. They detail several potential new features that we could see hit with the next generation of iPhone. Here's what you Apple fans can look forward to getting on your smartphones soon;
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The Object ID App: Imagine you're out traveling the world and you see a gorgeous old Cathedral. You whip out your iPhone and take a picture. An instant later, the iPhone recognizes the geographical coordinates of the building you photographed and tells you the Cathedral's name, age, and history.
Basically, Apple is looking to turn their camera into more of an augmented reality viewer. Possibilities include using the RFID reader to zoom in on and get more info about objects with RFID tags, using geographic locations to provide you with info about the snapshot you just took, and browsing area-dependent databases for further information on things like artwork, restaurants, or presumably even people.
Outgoing Voicemail Recording: Ever gotten a response to a voice mail that bewildered you because you were too drunk or busy to remember what you'd called to ask about in the first place? Apple wants to make an app that will save all outgoing voicemail to the contact information of whoever it is you called. When you wake up hungover in the morning after a long night's bar crawl you can just scroll through your contact list to see who you drunk dialed and what you said! Also, if you're a busy business man who makes a lot of calls this could also come in handy, but that's way less fun to think about.
Pre-Loaded iPhones: Apparently, Apple might be giving up on their active packaging idea. They've come up with another way to pre-load iPhones and iPods with media and app suites so that customers can customize their smartphones before they buy them. Apple will either do this by installing metadata files on the phone during manufacturing, or by beaming the files to the phone upon purchase.
Two Changes To Texting: The first proposed change is to introduce parental safety settings to text messaging. This would allow parents to block their kids from texting certain words, and it would inform the parents when their kids try to send forbidden messages. This will work for about two weeks before the kids devise new lingo that isn't blocked. Get ready for some ridiculous new abbreviations.
The second proposed change will allow users to see who didn't receive a text message when one is sent in bulk. It will allow them to resend that same message to the users that missed it without the sender having to retype his message.
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Media Content Sheet: This sounds more like a peripheral to me. Basically Apple wants to design a transparent sheet that users can overlay over their iPhone and manipulate to get information on media they are playing. Displaying song lyrics while media is playing appears to be the main purpose of this sheet.