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 ]


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There are 8 comments. Add yours.

Anon says:

I'm confused by the last paragraph. How do you know what Apple feels??

cjohnson481 says:

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.

Jimbo says:

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

Jebadoa says:

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.

RobCal says:

Apple needs to just buy Facebook or twitter.. Huge user base already

Brian Tufo says:

@Anon because they wrote about it in the patent filing. :)

fashion model websites says:

I would like to ask could it be that the patent application was for Ping in of itself, and not some new 'concept' that Apple has planned up it's sleeves?

Mark Nowotarski says:

There are now over 7000 social network patent applications on file. More at “Don’t Steal My Avatar! Challenges of Social Network Patents”.