Apple was granted a large cache of patents earlier this week by the US Patent and Trademark Office, one of which points at the company possibly being interested in push-to-talk technology.
Among about 45 other patents, the push-to-talk filing is described as a technology which allows users to initiate conversation that gets wired across cell or broadband networks and a feature specific server before hitting the destination. Similar to technology Nextel offered some time ago, it essentially amounts to a walkie-talkie like system for your smartphone where multiple users can communicate at once without any range limitations.
In June of last year, AT&T released a free iOS app that allowed for very similar functionality called Enhanced Push-To-Talk. The service currently requires a AT&T wireless service plus a monthly Enhanced PTT subscription to access, and can handle up to 250 users in a single walkie-talkie like conversation.
While there is no particular evidence that Apple is considering implementing a seemingly dated technology such as push-to-talk in its modern devices, the patent filing does show the company at least has some interest in it. Some kind of innovative take on push-to-talk features could be an interesting addition to Apple's mobile line-up.
Other patents Apple was granted this week cover digital content management, location-based services and a slide-to-unlock technology that is somewhat related to a patent in question at the current Apple vs. Samsung trial. According to Patently Apple, it sounds like a more advanced take on what we see now with slide-to-unlock and possibly something we may never see fully implemented with Touch ID now in use.