Apple files patents to improve the iPhone

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Cupertino company Apple has filed several patents this week which point the way towards improvements it hopes to bring to its run-away success, the iPhone.

According to Apple Insider, the patents include an ID App which will figure out which objects are around you; a way of controlling outgoing voicemail; and a marketing method to order iPhones which have the applications and media you want, preloaded.

The ID patent is interesting - it cites, as examples someone in an art museum looking at a piece of art which can pick up detailed information about a particular exhibit.

The idea is that a portable device could provide a number of different data relating to an object, and get extra information. One method might be to nclude an RFID reader, a camera and an IR image capture device.

If you're in Las Vegas, for example, you could set your iPhone to "restaurant" mode and just select the appropriate eateries in the city.

The patent says: "After an object has been identified, the portable electronic device can provide additional information about the identified object. In some embodiments, the portable electronic device can search for the additional information based on the previously defined mode. In some embodiments, the portable electronic device can provide additional information with incrementally increasing levels of details (e.g. basic, detailed and extended."

Another patent allows for parental control over text messages on iPhones,  while yet another describes an overlay partially transparent sheet that can let you associate words with particular tunes playing on the machine.