A new Apple patent involves ‘place cards’ to simplify usage of iOS and watchOS apps

Tired of having to open multiple iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch apps to get all the data you need for a planned event? Apple wants to change this, and has been granted a patent (number 9,706,346) for a “mobile device with applications that use a common place card to display data relating to a location.”

In the patent filing, Apple notes that he mobile device industry has been growing for a number of years, as has the number of apps. One of the problems with such increasing number is that different applications are displaying data relating to a same entity, such a location. 

As an example, if a person wishes to go to a movie theatre to catch a movie, then the person may have to open up multiple different apps to view different pieces of data relating to the same movie theatre. The person may have to open up a movie showtime app to check what movies are playing at the movie theatre. 

If the person needs driving directions to the movie theatre, he or she may have to open up a maps app. If the person wants to see what other people are saying about the movie theatre, then the person has to open up a business review app. This makes it very inconvenient for the person who has to navigate between different pages or views of not one application but several different applications in order to view data relating to the same place. Apple feels your pain and wants to help.

The company’s invention would provide a mobile computing device (iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch) that includes a number of apps having a common display area to display data relating to a location. In some embodiments, the common display area is a unified display area to display different types of data. 

The different types of data can include information regarding the location, multimedia associated with the location, user feedbacks regarding the location, a catalog associated with the location, social network data, etc. In some embodiments, the unified common display area is also referred to as a place card because it presents data relating to a place.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.