A recent patent filing by Apple suggests that restrictions could be put on future iPhones based on its location.
The patent is for an “apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device, such as upon the occurrence of a certain event.” The “event” could mean a few different things – it could mean when it is in range of one or more other certain devices, or if the wireless device (read: iPhone) comes within range of a certain access point.
An interpretation of this patent could lead to the conclusion that certain places – libraries, movie theaters, concert halls, etc – may be able to set restrictions, like turning off a phones ringer and screen, for users that enter a certain parameter.
Imagine if you went into a theater and your iPhone automatically adjusted itself to silent mode until you left. This, of course, is a courteous restriction (most theaters ask you to put your phone on silent anyways), but we could see how forcing a user’s device into “sleep mode” when they walk into a certain building could be classified as a gross violation of a user’s free will to use their phone as they please.
If this is the case, is the trade-off of courtesy for control worth it?