The average GPS app gives you two or three choices for how you reach your destination. You can usually choose fastest route or shortest distance, and sometimes you can choose the type of road and avoid tolls or highways. Apple is taking a different approach by plotting routes with the best wireless signal so you’re never without the trusty internet.
They haven’t put this mapping software out there for public consumption, but they have filed a patent for the technology. The lengthy document details Apple’s plan to use wireless network signal map data to plot out a route that keeps your vehicle always within range of a strong signal. This might not sound like it’s a big deal, but keeping yourself and your car connected at all times is important.
There’s a reason automakers proudly trumpet their latest connectivity improvements. The achievement of the moment is having a car with 4G LTE connectivity. If you’re the driver, losing your internet connection might just mean losing streaming music briefly or possibly the car’s ability to check your emails and texts and read them to you while you’re driving. The bigger problem is when passengers suddenly find themselves disconnected.
If you’ve ever been on a road trip with kids, then you understand. Devices like tablets and mobile phones let kids entertain themselves and keep “Are we there yet?” from becoming a back seat mantra. A connected car is a wonderful way to entertain the kids, but a connected car that keeps losing its connection is frustrating. The resulting whining can make a parent’s head explode.
Even if it took slightly longer or used slightly more gas, I bet there are plenty of parents who would gladly take the optimal signal strength route. It’s also something that could be very useful for those who work on the road. Instead of having to find someplace with decent wifi, knowing your car is connected means you can stop and take a break anywhere and get your work done.
Just because Apple applied for this patent doesn’t mean we’ll see this tech rolling out into smartphones tomorrow. There are lots of patents out there and many of them are never put into use but only applied for just in case a company someday deems them worthwhile.
The filing for this patent was done back in August of 2012 and has only just been published. Apple hasn’t seen fit to make good on the technology in the last three years, but there’s always a chance you’ll have this option on your smartphone one day. Maybe the iPhone 8C or whatever the heck they’re calling it in a few years.