Social networking is apparently Apple's new motif. The company has filed six social networking patents in the past year. The development of social networking apps are a key part of plans for the next generation iPhone 5 and iPad 2.
An Apple trademark patent application was recently make public by Patently Apple, which reported that "Apple obviously regards social networking as an important piece of the mobile device revolution and their brand name being associated with this movement is crucial."
The sudden rise of Facebook and the proliferation of social networking start ups has seemingly had a huge influence on Apple and led to a major shake-up at cross-town rival Google. Larry Page, Google's co-founder, will take over the reins as the company's chief executive from Eric Schmidt later this year in an effort to stem the rising tide of talented engineers defecting to Facebook and other Silicon Valley start ups.
A new Apple patent application surfaced yesterday that adds features to iTunes that enhances its music social networking app Ping.
Another recent Apple patent shows the company is developing an iPhone location-based social networking app call iGroups. The new feature is apparently inspired by the location-based social networking start up Foursquare, which has a popular iPhone app. iGroups will likely work with Apple's cloud-based MobileMe service, which will be enhanced with GPS features.
9 to 5 Mac, MacRumors and InformationWeek have all documented Apple's plans to either improve camera features or make photo-sharing easier on the iPhone 5 and iPad 2.
Photo-sharing is a key element of the social networking movement. Many of the new features being designed for the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 are inspired by the popularity of photo sharing on Facebook and the fast-growing social networks Foursquare and Instagram.
Many consider photo sharing to be Facebook's most important feature. A record 750 million photos were uploaded to Facebook over the New Year's weekend. Pixable, a New York City start up founded by three MIT graduate students, recently created an app that allows Facebook users to sort the photos of their family and friends.
Outside of Facebook, Instagram is the fastest-growing photo-sharing network. Within minutes of releasing its iPhone app three months ago, an Instagram blog post noted, "People from places like Japan, France and New York started signing up in droves."
|Snoop Dogg recently tweeted his first Instagram photo|
Instagram has built-in special-effect photo filters that enhance the often poor quality of pictures taken with cell phones.
This post originally appeared on Benzinga.