Latest Apple patent hints towards a social network for the retail world

The latest patent filed by Apple shows a possible Ping-like social networking tool for the retail world. It would allow for iPhone owners to share comments, opinions and recommendations for different products from different stores for their friends to view. Like any patent there's no telling when, if ever, this particular one will find its way into a real, shipping product, but it does hive us a glimpse at what Apple is working on.

Basically what it would entail is using your iPhone while shopping to gain product lists from a kiosk located inside the store. Those products and any information about them would be viewable in the proposed social networking app. Once you view a product you could ask your friends their opinions on the item to help you decide if you should make the purchase or hold off for the time being. Your friends can rate, review, or check yes or no for the products you share.

Apple feels it is a lot of work trying to coordinate shopping with friends or gaining the attention of a salesclerk. Personally I think I can handle shopping for myself but what about you? Do you need Apple's help in deciding what to buy in the form of yet another social network?

[ Apple Insider ]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


← Previously

Monitor your heart with the iPhone 4 ECG case [video]

Next up →

Steve Jobs Pitches the iPad to BBC's Dragons Den [Friday fun video]

Reader comments

Latest Apple patent hints towards a social network for the retail world


Apple should work on a iPhone to iPhone specific messaging platform like BBM, not something about making shopping social. I doubt many people would sit online waiting to comment on what their friends could potentially be buying.

I don't mind optional help when shopping, but I do mind yet another patent on a concept, rather than an actual implementation/invention.

My wife reads a couple of blogs that are solely about getting peoples opinions. One is about "which hairstyle would be best for be?" another is about "does this outfit look good on me?". They both have lots of followers. Lord knows people love to give their opinions and input; just scroll up or down right now for proof. I think people will use this social shopping network.