Apple has been awarded a shiny new patent that will allow for the automatic configuration and re-configuration of iPhone, iPad and all other iOS-based devices depending on which peripherals are attached.
While this kind of behavior is already being seen to a much lesser degree, this patent would allow for the kind of freedom required to allow peripherals to communicate state and for your iOS-based devices to then intuit the intentional use and behaviors as a result.
So what could this mean for us as users? Consider the use of integrated hands-free functionality seen in many vehicles these days. With this new idea, when you are inside your vehicle it would be possible not only to switch to a bluetooth hands-free pairing but also to activate Siri automatically for all instruction as well. But let’s take this a step further. Perhaps your device can also be made aware that when you are inside your car but within a particular vicinity of your wireless headset, the hands-free pairing and Siri activation should not take place. Or what if you and your spouse both pair your phone with the bluetooth feature but you want to be sure that one phone takes priority automatically when you are both inside (regardless of who sat down first)?
How about every time you set your new MacBook Air (wishfully thinking here that the next iteration will run iOS) on your desk and it automatically polls for external drives for pairing or backing up without doing a single thing more?
As our homes become more integrated with iOS-based devices there is even more potential. Consider the interaction between your devices and Apple TV or wireless AirPlay speaker docks? Maybe you always want your iPhone to start playing and transmitting your “cool jams” playlist the moment you walk into your home (but only as long as it is after 5:00PM but before 11:00PM).
I believe that this patent gives way to a level of interaction and customizable user experiences that we have only seen (and yearned for) in episodes of Star Trek.