Those of you who rent or drive different cars might appreciate a new patent filing from the folks at Apple.
Published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a patent application called "Automatic configuration of self-configurable environments" describes a way to adjust key controls in different cars via your iPhone.
Some cars can automatically "remember" how you adjust the seat, move the mirrors, and raise or lower the steering wheel. In these cases, a press of a button restores those controls to your desired position. But when you plop into the driver's seat of a different car, you have to again fuss with the seat, mirrors, and other controls to set them properly.
In Apple's proposed invention, you could store the preferring settings for your car on your iPhone and then carry them over to a different automobile, such as a rented model or a new purchase.
As described in the patent:
A user could allow their phone to learn configuration preferences from the user's personal automobile, and when the user visits another automobile, such as when renting a car, or buying a new car, those configuration preferences could be imported into the visited automobile and used to automatically configure the automobile according to the imported preferences. Such preferences could include seat orientation, radio preferences (especially satellite radio), climate control preferences, and minor orientation preferences.
Apple would naturally need to work with automakers to implement this type of technology. So, as interesting as the concept sounds, it's unlikely to be just around the corner. Still, the company seems to be making headway in teaming up with carmakers, recently promising better support for certain iOS features and apps on your dashboard.