Future versions of Apple’s Maps app may may make it easier to hail ride hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,168,164) for “integrating ride hailing services into a navigation application.”
For example, Maps could receive user input indicating that the user is interested obtaining transportation from a ride hailing service. In response to receiving the indication, the navigation app could invoke an application extension for a third party ride hailing app. Maps and the ride hailing application could then communicate to provide the ride hailing service through the navigation app.
In the patent filing, Apple says that, currently, using ride hailing services and apps such as Maps, a user often is required to switch back and forth between the navigation application and the ride hailing app. However, switching back and forth between the two “can be time consuming, confusing, and burdensome.” Apple wants to change this.
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.