Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hopes to make it easier for iPhone users to connect with other iPhone users. On Thursday, the Cupertino-based tech giant published a patent called “Methods to determine availability of user based on mobile phone status” and it essentially describes a system that allows the user to see if the other iPhone user they want to talk to is available.

Apple patent

Apple’s new patent features

What’s most interesting about this particular feature is that it’s a bit similar to the Available/Away/Offline messaging system that is found on most instant messengers including iMessage.

The background for the patent was explained, “In particular, for most callees, the only available actions are to accept the call or decline it by either not answering or allowing an answering machine or voice mail system to respond. The caller in such cases has no control over whether or not the call will be accepted.”

Apple’s sharing patent differs from caller ID

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) claims this feature will differ from caller ID as there would be a mechanism that would automatically display the phone’s operational status. This would replace the presence and availability options that users set up manually. A handset would report operating status, current state, and condition of the cellular network server. Examples of possible status updates include operating mode like “ringer” and “vibration”, cellular signal strength, current location, and battery life. These particular functions are all reported based on that user’s global settings or share preferences.

More detail on Apple’s patent

Apple Insider goes into a bit more into detail, “When a caller attempts to make a call, their handset queries the network server for the operating status of the callee’s mobile device. Depending on the server’s response, the caller’s contact list displays the most recent status information alongside a party’s phone number. Armed with the remotely acquired data, the caller can decide whether to make the call or switch to another mode of communication, such as text messaging. “

This patent brings a lot of potential for iPhone users and the future of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).