Apple recently received a patent for a new “intelligent” caller ID system. Patent No. 8,331,916 for "Image selection for an incoming call" describes a system in which an image is randomly selected to represent the incoming call contact based on a number of predetermined criteria.
The system pulls images stored directly on the device or on an off-site server and matches them with the caller ID information. Users will have the option to filter images using a rating system before an image is randomly selected.
The system also takes into account time and location, and may select an image based on those criteria. If a call is originating from New York, the system may select an image of the caller that was taken in that particular city. Similarly, depending on the time that a call is being received the system may select an image that was taken during the day or at night.
This patent is a small victory in light of the recent provisional invalidation of Apple’s multi-touch patent. Though the decision isn’t final, the USPTO is taking a look back at the original patent application which covers some of the most fundamental features of the iPad and iPhone devices.
Patent No. 7,479,949 for a “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics” is considered one of the most famous Steve Jobs patents. But would losing this key patent really be devastating to the tech company? Probably not. If the final ruling does find the patent invalid, Apple may have to change some of its legal strategies going forward, but the company is far enough ahead with patents and finances where this would have little impact overall.