Apple has filed a new and vast range of functionality to its growing iTravel patent, allowing users to manage hotel services and air travel tools from their iPhones.
First revealed in April 2010, iTravel is Apple's project name for a suite of tools for the iPhone which give users the ability to make flight reservations, manage bookings, airport and hotel check-in and passenger identification tools.
One of the most important aspects of iTravel is that it sits on the iPhone as a pre-installed piece of functionality, alongside other options such as calendar, mail, calculator, rather than a third party-hosted application.
PatentlyApple, the site which first evaluated the iTravel patent, has now discovered a further two patents filed in the past week - the first is a hotel in-room and concierge system, another focuses on trip planning and in-flight services.
The hotel system is split into a number of parts, such as pre-arrival, arrival, in-room services, resort activities and check-out tools.
Each element has a series of options where the user can select products and services, make payments, check itineraries or control other technology in the vicinity, such as room systems (air-con, lighting).
The second patent features functionality primarily for us at an airport, adding to the existing flight check-in tools on the original patent application but covering such elements of a trip as lounge services, in-flight tools and seat booking.
As well as being able to control features of the aircraft seat, such as cabin crew alerts and volume controls, services such as destination content and information about activities are also included.
Couple these most recent patents with the location-based services tools filed in mind-May 2010 and clearly Apple is creating quite a substantial body of work.
And although no single element of the iTravel filing is officially available as a product or in-built service for the iPhone (and, presumably, iPad), the patents show the capability of such software and where Apple's on-the-move strategy could be heading.
NB: Hat-tip PatentlyApple and Paul Slugocki.