Apple wants to make it easier to share location information among its iOS and watchOS devices. The company has been granted a patent (number 20180091951) for the aptly-named “sharing location among devices” and refers to the “Find My Friend” feature on iPhones and iPads.
Per the invention, devices such as smartphones can execute location applications that provide information about a location of the device. For example, the iPhone could have a location system that determines a current position of the device and displays the position on a user interface of the device. The location application may also track the location of the device over time and display a path representing motion of the device.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent: “Methods, systems, apparatus, and computer program products that include, on a first device executing a first instance of a location application, receiving an indication to begin sharing data describing a path traveled by the first device, receiving location data describing the path traveled by the first device, the location data received from a location system of the first device, and the location data including a plurality of locations of the first device, and transmitting the location data in a form usable to enable a user interface of a second instance of a location application executing on a second device to indicate the path traveled by the first device.”
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.