Apple patent would let callers know if you're too busy to chat

By on August 22, 2013, 2:45 PM

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent application that outlines a method in which a caller could check the status of another iPhone user’s handset before placing a call to determine whether it's a good time for them to chat

The feature sounds similar to a notification system you’d find on an instant messaging client to show if a user is “available” or “away.” In the patent filing titled “Methods to determine availability of user based on mobile phone status," Apple points out that those on the receiving end of a call have the ability to screen incoming calls using caller ID.

The problem, however, is that it’s an inefficient method for the caller as well as the person on the other end that receives a call at an inopportune time. Apple’s proposed method would automatically share the state of a device to would-be callers using indicators like current operating mode (is the ringer on or is it set to vibrate), current location, cell signal strength, battery life and other metrics.

All of these could be reported based on user preference to help determine if it’s a good time to accept a call or not. That information would then be displayed to the caller to help them decide if they want to move forward with the call or try a less invasive method of communication like a text message.

It’s a novel approach to screen calls but whether or not Apple will actually implement it, especially in the wake of recent privacy and tracking concerns, remains to be seen.

User Comments: 10

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JC713 JC713 said:

This is cool but really creepy.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I guess leaving a voice mail is too much of a hassle these days, eh?

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Cool feature. Now all I need to know is where I will have to go in the iOS settings to disable it.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:


If their status says busy you can still call and leave a message. I don't see why that would change.

I like this idea. Some people don't check their voicemail that often, so if you really want to talk to someone, you can use the status check.

wastedkill said:

Patent... you kidding me this cant be possible android already has this and has had it for ages now, brb gonna patent giving birth and breathing so I can earn cash from people giving birth and breathing.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

I'm used to an engaged signal. It doesn't offend me or cost a cent either. I can't see the sense in this.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Maybe they can implement a $20 fine for calling, if the person they are calling has a status of "Driving". lol

ShadowDeath said:

Soo... if Apple can't win by making a better phone then they will win by legal battles with their opponents. They're really starting to sink lately...

MonsterZero MonsterZero said:

So if there was porn on the screen it would not answer the call.... pretty smart.

Guest said: could just turn on auto-reply on your Android phone? That way if they text you, my phone will magically let the sender know if I'm too busy to chat!*nerd*

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