According to a report from Apple Insider
, the US Patent and Trademark office today granted Apple a patent for a journaling system that can timestamp and geotag any iOS device event.
The patented system uses a map to display aggregated data, with icons and tags to specify the type of event recorded on the device. The map GUI can pull events from a timeline created and stored in a database accessible to users through text entry.
Aggregated data can be filtered by time, location, application, and other categories offering various ways for a user to track events logged on their device.
There is no indication yet how soon the technology might be expected to surface on Apple products, but in principle it could be aimed at accomplishing several different goals. For users of mobile devices, a complete record of activities could certainly help contextualize use of the device and simplify access to a complete log of events.
As a few commenters lament, however, this is exactly the kind of feature that conjures up Orwellian nightmares and any number of dystopic scenarios. From a privacy standpoint, more will need to come to light ahead of the software's implementation. While certain apps such as Evernote perform a similar task, it is not unreasonable to worry that sensitive information recorded in such a database, particularly if it becomes standard and automatic on iOS, could be used in ways consumers find intrusive.