Looking at Apple's recent patent applications is one way that industry observers try to get a sense of what Apple is interested in. The most recently revealed patents show that the answer is increasingly "everything." AppleInsider details today a few newly available patent applications that Apple has filed: one for home power consumption management, and another, somewhat more exotic one that involves a method to detect a user's emotional state and tailor a playlist to their mood.
Combining powerline networking - which uses your home's electrical wiring system to carry data - with fine-grained management software, Apple's "Intelligent Power Monitoring" patent application describes a system that will use telemetry from networked devices such as computers and "smart" appliances to determine how much power is needed to perform certain tasks. It will then present the homeowner with a "dashboard" that will allow them to tailor their energy usage to keep electricity cost within preset limits. The system will allow a homeowner to define fairly sophisticated parameters for their energy cost and consumption patterns:
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.
Another of Apple's patents describes a method of detecting a user's mood, using some kind of of capacitor, and creating a sort of smart playlist to match that mood. The sensor is described as being located either on the media player or "within another device that may be peripheral to the electronic device" (a mood ring?), and transmitting the capacitance value of the user's skin. The media player would then take that data and compare it to other capacitance values it got from the user, or to a pre-programmed set of capacitance values that have been determined to correspond to particular moods. Once it got a read on the user's mood, the media player would be able to generate a custom playlist based on that mood.
...it also would be beneficial to provide systems and methods for suggesting media based upon similar moods previously experienced by the user and the user's media selections with respect to those previous moods.
image via Patently Apple