Bored on Hold? Apple Patent Could Fix That

It seems like in the last few months that Apple has been applying for a lot of patents. Technology news seems to feature a new one every week. They’re all interesting and very innovative, but the latest seems to be the most useful. The latest Apple patent shows the technology for an iPhone displaying useful and adaptive information while the user is on hold.

We’ve all been in that position before. You’re in the middle of a call, and you’re put on hold. You only expect it to take a few seconds, but before you know it, you’ve been on hold forever, or at least it seems like it. You want to hang up, but are sure the person you are calling will be back any minute. With a smartphone in your hand, though, especially an iPhone, you shouldn’t ever be bored.

Apple has been granted a patent that they refer to as a “Communications system that provides user-selectable data when user is on hold.” Because it’s selected by the user and adaptable, it can be either information to kill time or information that directly relates to the call you’re on.


The suggestions for this information include weather reports, local news, upcoming calendar events, and unchecked messages. Music is even a suggested option. How many times have you wished you could listen to your own music instead of the canned music playing while you’re on hold? It can even make it adaptive to give you information directly related to the caller you are connected with, such as your last correspondence with that person, your upcoming meetings with that person, etc. It goes even further than that, though, as the system will pick up contextual clues from your conversation to know what type of data to offer to you.

This would work along with the call waiting system. You would create a profile that includes the information you would like displayed when you’re on hold. When the system determines you’re on hold, or when you alert your phone that you’re on hold, the Apple patent shows that the data you have chosen would pop up on the screen.


It all sounds really great, but where this Apple patent might come into problems is in offering you information about the caller. Some private individuals are already upset about information that is shared about them on the Info Highway, and this would certainly have some upset. People are often worried that details such as their financial information could be culled and used, and any time a device has smart knowledge about them it causes them to balk.

However, it’s hard to hold back technology once it’s out there. If this ends up being a patent that Apple acts on and uses, it could be something that spreads beyond just iPhones and could be used on other smartphones, as it’s that innovative. It could even be used by businesses such as doctors’ offices. They seem to put you on hold automatically anyway, and now when they do, they would know who you are, when you’re next appointment is, when you were in last, any recent tests you had done, etc.

There doesn’t seem to be an end to the possibilities of this adaptive on-hold system. What do you think of this latest Apple patent? Would you be upset with your information displaying on someone’s phone when you put them on hold or would you welcome this intrusion? Let us know below in the comment section.

a business man using a mobile phone by BigStockPhoto

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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