Friday, July 21, 2017

Apple Patents Discreet 911 Calling Technology for iPhone

Patent for Touch ID: iPhone is to Get Panic Mode

Apple was again awarded a whole batch of patents this week, including the description of an iPhone charging station with Siri integration and the possibility to discreet emergency calls. The latter describes the company under the title "Biometric Initiated Communication" as a series of finger movements within a certain period of time. The patent submission should help iPhone owners in danger situations uncomplicated, but effective. The principle is so simple that it could soon be implemented.

In emergencies, an attacker could be in the best case to make an emergency call without warning, by tapping, for example, when unlocking the iPhone in a special way with a finger on the display. The touch ID in the home button of iPhones and iPads could get another meaningful function in the near future. The US Patent Office has published an Apple application describing how the fingerprint sensor can be used as a panic button. The principle is simple: Owners of the devices define a finger whose imprint triggers specific functions in emergency situations. "Apple Patent" has described the various possibilities.

The mentioned Siri dock describes Apple as a screen-equipped charging station for the iPhone. The application from the year 2013 for the now granted patent explicitly also describes the option to charge the iPhone wirelessly. In the event that the next iPhone is actually based on wireless charging technology, Apple would have to spend the autumn announced HomePod only a suitable charge module to exploit the patent protected possibilities.

If an iPhone or iPad is unlocked in the panic mode, personal data such as contacts, e-mails, messages or photos are not available. The device could then look as if it had been reset to the factory settings and behaved accordingly. It is also possible that the surface is not visible at all, that the panic mode was activated. IPhones or iPads could also inadvertently take photos and videos and secretly upload to an Apple server. Alternatively, the recordings could be stored on the device and later retrieved by remote access along with the location data.

If the owner is threatened, a panic mode would also allow him to start sound recordings, which are sent directly to an emergency service. He could, for example, describe a place or name the offender, if he knows it.

An iPhone can only serve as a fast emergency call transmitter in the event of an accident or a certain imprint activates a private mode in which a device is only usable to a limited extent and no access to personal data is possible. To deactivate a panic mode, the corresponding finger can be placed on the home button, the patent application also provides for wipes.

The latter, however, is more likely to be fiction, as usual, when looking at patent applications it must be taken into account that in most cases it is important to keep all doors open. Only a part of the described techniques can be used in the end.

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