In new patents, Apple explores 'intelligent power monitoring,' mood-sensing media

New patent applications from computer maker Apple show that the next iPhone could manage your home's power consumption and play media based on your emotions.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

New patent applications from computer maker Apple show that the next iPhone could manage your home's power consumption and play media based on your emotions.

A filing for "Intelligent Power Monitoring" describes a system that identifies networked hardware and software to determine power consumption and estimated cost. It allows the user to change settings, prioritize devices or execute a power plan to save money -- with compatibility with iPhones, iPods, printers, Mac computers and software such as iTunes.

The application states:

"The cost of power can vary based on a number of factors, including for example the time of day, week or month, the consumer's tier or type of service, the amount of power previously consumed by the consumer, alternate sources of power used by the consumer (e.g., solar cells used during the day), or any other suitable criteria."

"The criteria can be combined into one or more tables or graphs, or into one or more equations or algorithms used by the power supplier to determine how much to charge for each consumer's power use."

Users could set limits so that a specific device won't exceed them in a specified amount of time. The filing is credited to Anthony Fadell and was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 8, 2009.

Another smart Apple patent shows the company's interest in applying mood-sensing software to its popular iPhone and iPod devices.

Sensing a user's mood using a capacitive sensor -- the same kind used on a touchscreen phone like the iPhone, but could be positioned elsewhere, such as the edges or back panel of a device -- the software would select music, movies or photos based on (for example) happy, sad or angry moods.

How can it tell which mood you're in? Aside from some creative programming, the software could compare your results to a common set of moods from a sample sized population, then select media to, in the case of a bad mood, lift you out of the dumps.

I can see the tagline now: "The iPod: Misery loves company."

The filing is called "System and Method for Creating Playlists Based on Mood" and was filed on July 10, 2008.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards