Apple Inc. has filed patents with the US Patent & Trademark Office for two travel related app ideas for directly interfacing with airline and hotel booking and information systems, along with a third one for fashion shopping. The patents were filed last year, but have just been made public by the USPTO.
The travel services app patent (20100190510) deals with “Systems & methods for accessing travel services using a portable electronic device.”
Application summary says this includes “Such services can include, for example, reserving a travel itinerary, checking-in remotely for a reservation, providing airport information, providing for social networking, obtaining dining or entertainment during travel, controlling and requesting cabin services, providing arrival notifications to third parties, providing destination location information, and the like.”
The hotel app patent application (20100191551) summary says “This is directed to systems and methods for accessing hotel services through a portable electronic device.”
Examples of hotel services cited include “that a traveler can interact with a hotel to make a reservation, check-in, order room service, control room settings, use a concierge to identify attractions of interest in the vicinity, purchase entertainment options, check-out, and schedule subsequent aspects of a trip (e.g., order a taxi, reserve a rental car, or check-in to a flight).”
The third patent application is for high-end fashion shopping (20100191578), and includes methods for providing information for promotional and invitation-only events, browsing catalogs, availability of fashion items, and view or provide ratings or reviews for stores or fashion items.
If Apple is willing to risk innovation in mobile travel apps with patents like these, it means they’re actively seeking to book a place at the table as a gateway between mobile consumers and travel service providers.
There’s An App For That?