Apple granted patent for using apps during calls

21 Dec 2011

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The iPhone 4S

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Apple has been granted a patent that relates to users being able to use apps during phone calls.

The functionality which may appear in forthcoming iPhone and iPad devices could set Apple aside from the competition in a major way. At present, smartphone users can either make calls or use apps – they can’t do both.

This could be very exciting from the perspective of remote working or unified communications; for example, being able to take part in a conference call over your smartphone and interacting with information or data contained within a specific business app.

Or consumers could be watching video content or playing games against one another while on a phone call simultaneously.

The patent number 8,082,523 describes: "A portable electronic device displays, on a touchscreen display, a user interface for a phone application during a phone call. In response to detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button, the UI for the phone application is replaced with a menu of application icons, while maintaining the phone call.

“In response to detecting a finger gesture on a non-telephone service application icon, displaying a user interface for the non-telephone service application while continuing to maintain the phone call, the UI for the non-telephone service application including a switch application icon that is not displayed in the UI when there is no ongoing phone call.

“In response to detecting a finger gesture on the switch application icon, replacing display of the UI for the non-telephone service application with a respective UI for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call."

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com