Do you always forget to turn off your phone and it rings at the most inappropriate times? If you own an iPhone you might soon be able to let other users know if you’re available, by using a status sharing system similar to IM statuses.

The iPhone status sharing method is detailed in a recent patent application filed by Apple and called Methods to determine availability of users based on mobile phone status.

Apple Patent to Allow iPhone Status Sharing

The system would only work between iPhone users.  It would basically determine if the person you want to call is available to talk and alert you of their status before completing the call.

Apple’s goal is to eliminate uncertainty over a person’s situation when they cannot be reached by phone.  So, assuming the person you want to call is in a dead zone or on an airplane, you will not longer have to freak out and make dozens of desperate calls because they’re not picking up. You will automatically be alerted of their status when you make the very first call.

How would it work?

According to Apple, this method of checking iPhone users status would be very similar to the instant messaging system, which allows users to see if someone is available, busy, offline or away.

The company plans to make it work by having iPhones communicate with Apple servers to report their status and call preferences. At preset intervals, the phones would relay information such as battery life, signal strength, location and mode – Normal, Vibration or Airplane.

Anybody attempting to make a call would be informed of that person’s iPhone status and would decide whether to go ahead with the call or use another method of communication such as sending an email or a text message.

This sounds like a useful thing to have both for caller and callee, as it would ensure that no calls are made or received at inappropriate times. It does, however, raise some privacy concerns, mostly related to the fact that the system would also convey information about a person’s location. Hopefully Apple will address these issues by the time it completes the project.

What do you think of this iPhone status sharing method? Would you use something like this?

[Image via The Atlantic Wire]