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Apple to create iGroups social network

Apple to create iGroups social network

Apple has applied for a patent that will cover a variety of social networking functions on mobile phones, with the intention of creating its own iGroups platform for communication.

The iGroups platform will be unlike other social networking services in that it will be created and hosted by many small groups of iPhone users to help share information during press events, protests, concerts and pretty much any other gathering.

According to fan site Patently Apple, the Cupertino-based giant apparently filed for a patent to protect this functionality in the US last week.

It hopes that iGroups will let iPhone users communicate via messaging and through the provision of GPS data, although it will also let them transfer traditional social networking material such as photos and videos.

The iGroups platform is not expected to be an iPhone exclusive, but will be compatible with different smartphones in order to reach a wider audience.

Personal information, such as contact details and emails, will be able to flow between the members of an iGroup and Apple intends to integrate location-specific advertising in order to help fund the service.

In the patent application, Apple states: "Concert attendees in a group can be sent coupons to purchase music or other items related to the concert or invited to join a fan club of the performer, etc".

Even if Apple is granted the patent, iGroups could theoretically remain a pipe dream, but it looks to be an appealing platform from the point of view of the user.

Observers have suggested that Apple could have been gearing up for the iGroups service for some time, as it has so far resisted location-based services from rivals on its own platforms, whilst buying up mapping firm Placebase in 2009.

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