Future versions of Apple’s Maps app may not only give you directions, but point out “points of interest” to you, per a patent filing (number 20180349451) by Apple.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that computing devices — namely, the iPhone and Apple Watch — are used to search for locations, present map data describing locations, and present navigation instructions for traveling to a location. These locations may be referred to as points of interest.
However, when reviewing search results, the user may have a difficult time determining how the various points of interest are related, or not related, to each other. What’s more, when the user doesn’t know the name of a particular point of interest, a user may perform a broad search for an area of interest when the user is really interested in a particular point of interest that is in or related to the area of interest.
Apple says it would be useful if search results and/or a map display were organized such that a user can quickly see how various points of interest are related to each other and/or related to a broader area of interest.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “An electronic device could receive input specifying search parameters. The device would obtain search results, including points of interest, associated with the search parameters. The computing device can present the search results such that related points of interest are grouped and/or presented near each other.
“For example, if a point of interest (e.g., area of interest) corresponds to a geographical area, then the computing device can group the area of interest with other points of interest related to the area of interest. Similarly, when an area of interest is presented on a map display, the geographic area related to the area of interest can be highlighted and related points of interest can be represented on the map display.”
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.