Several new Apple patent applications published online this week outline the company’s research into different applications implemented with wireless technologies. The first, titled “Wireless communication out of range indication,” describes a system by which the user is notified that he or she is nearly out of range of a wireless network, and given an estimated amount of time before their device will be out of range. The filing covers a range of wireless standards, including FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, IR, and others.

The second filing, titled “Location discovery using Bluetooth,” deals with a system by which users of a Bluetooth-enabled device would be able to locate a separate external Bluetooth device by transmitting a signal which enables the external device to guide the user to its location. One of the more obvious possible implementations of this technology would be a “headset finder” function for the iPhone or a future Bluetooth-enabled iPod.

Finally, a broad patent filing simply titled “Media Player System” describes a method for wirelessly connecting a main media player system, via a wireless-enabled docking station or built-in wireless functionality, to one or more other media devices capable of receiving media items. According to the filing, “the transmitter is configured to at least transmit a continuous music feed to one or more personal tuning devices that each include a receiver capable of receiving information from the transmitter over the wireless connection.” The filing goes on to describe a myriad of possible connections and transfer options, noting that “the wireless communication link may correspond to FM, RF, Bluetooth, 802.11, UWB (ultra wide band), IR (infrared), magnetic link (induction) and/or the like.” As with all Apple patents, these filings do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in these areas.

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.