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Apple Patent Surfaces For Location-Based Authentication

July 5, 2014

Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Only a few weeks ago at this year’s Google I/O, the giant behind the Android smartphone and tablet operating system announced their Android L would be released with a feature called ‘Personal Unlocking‘, meant to keep devices secured.

With the discovery of a new patent application by the Cupertino, CA-based Apple, Inc, it appears the ‘House That Jobs Built’ does not intend to be left behind in this battle. The company behind the iPhone, iPad, iPod and iTunes has designs on patenting a location-based system that will alter how a device functions at any given time. Brittany Hillen of Slashgear notes, as an example, an iPhone’s access level will be tweaked based on where the user is currently at, requiring a stronger form of authorization when in public rather than at home.

By comparison, Google’s security enhancement will take a two-pronged attack at keeping your device safe and secure. The first, a location-based model very similar to Apple’s recent patent, will utilize the phone’s GPS capability to determine a frequented location, like your home or office, to establish a relaxed security protocol for so-called ‘safe areas’. If, however, you are outside of the geofence, your phone’s lock screen will prompt you to enter your passcode.

The second approach by Google that is unique has to do with Bluetooth capability and connecting to trusted Bluetooth devices. If, for example, you are wearing a Bluetooth headset or fitness band, the connection will let your phone know that it is in close enough proximity to you that the Bluetooth-enabled device will serve as your password. Once out of range of your device, your phone would require a passcode.

Talking up one of the other possibilities brought about by Apple’s patent application, Slashgear’s Hillen also pointed out that the user experience could be “tweaked,” allowing the phone owner to establish access and use protocols for different environments.

“The possibilities are numerous,” she states. “When in a theater, for example, the phone can automatically shut off any audio that might come through.” This would refer to a pre-set alarm or notification tone. Additionally, users could set their phones to disable almost all functionality, save for emergency service access, when their vehicles are in motion.

As was noted in an earlier article for redOrbit, I explained how there is “…an entire cottage industry [that] has popped up around attempting to predict the next move being planned by Apple Inc.” With the release of this week’s patent application, the prognosticators have once again gone into full guessing mode as to if, how and when Apple intends to implement this new functionality in their devices. For now, I suggest all we have to do is sit and wait.

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Source: Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online



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