“A system outlined in an Apple patent on Tuesday takes data from a number of sensors deployed throughout a handheld device and feeds the information into a ‘situational awareness module,’ which then triggers a number of functions, including vibration settings, music playback and sleep mode,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,385,039 for ‘”Electronic device with automatic mode switching’ joins a variety of existing and pending properties related to sensor management to create a highly automated system that can ‘anticipate’ a user’s needs,” Campbell reports. “By using temperature, force, ambient lighting, vibration, pressure and a multitude of other sensors, Apple’s “intuitive portable electronic device” can predict what function a user is likely to perform next.”

Campbell reports, “The patent covers a litany of implementations, including playing songs based on how a user takes the device out of their pants, switching between ring and vibrate modes based on ambient light and adjusting volume based on ambient noise.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Geo-fencing is already delivering some measure of “situational awareness” by popping up the Starbucks payment screen on iPhones when users come close to Starbucks shops, for example. It will be very interesting to see how far these sorts of anticipatory functions can be taken.