Another Apple patent today looks remarkably similar to the functionality of Google Latitude which Apple relegated to WebApp status earlier this year.  Obviously if Apple is working on their own version of Google Latitude (or owns the IP rights to this functionality), they’d be hesitant to put an app with the same functionality on their devices from another company.  Now it all makes sense!

In Apple’s implementation, it looks like the location data can be carried in an SMS or Instant Message (interesting news in its own right), which can then be opened in the Maps application to show the other person’s location relative to the iPhone user’s.

Also, note what appears to be another instance of a front-facing camera on the iPhone image below.  We’re calling it now: iPhone 4G (and tablet + maybe iPod touch) get front faing cameras.  Who is with us?

From Patently Apple:

 

Two other patents published today are directly related to Apple’s iPhone Maps + Compass capabilities as follows:

  

Location Sharing: Abstract – Geographic location data is sent from a first device to a second device with a modified message to signal the presence of geographic location data associated with the message. The message can include (or attach) the geographic location data or file, or the message can include a link to a network-based resource which the second device can use to obtain the geographic location data. In some implementations, when a user of the first device views a location on a map display of the first device, a graphical user interface is presented to allow the user to select an option to share the geographic location with the second device. The second device receives geographic location data or a link from the first device which can trigger a map display on the second device showing the location of the first device and, optionally, the location of the second device. For more information on patent application 20090325603, view this temporary link.

  

Position Fix Indicator: Abstract – In some implementations, a method includes: obtaining a first position measure at a mobile device indicating a geographic area where the mobile device is located, presenting a first graphical indicator on a user interface representing the geographic area; obtaining a second position measure at the mobile device, indicating a location associated with the mobile device, and within the geographic area; and presenting a second graphical indicator on the user interface representing the location within the geographic area. For more information on patent 20090326815, view this temporary link.

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