Apple’s social network Ping may have not been as dynamic as Apple fans hoped it would be. That does not seem to be stopping Apple from getting in the social networking business in other ways. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recently published a patent application by Apple that covers consumers using their smart-phones (e.g iPhone) to connect with others while shopping. Using this system, iPhone owners would be able to get feedback from their network to make better shopping decisions.
When in stores, iPhone owners can connect to a kiosk that would provide them with a product list and relevant information. Users could try simple yes/no questions or ask for shopping ideas from their friends. Product ratings seem to be included in this system as well. Social shopping is not a new concept by any means. Apple’s new idea would allow users to make their shopping decisions with confidence. It has something for businesses too. They could use this service to get feedback on their products.
Social networking is not Apple’s core competency. Ping has been underwhelming, at least so far. Social shopping and decision tools are on the rise. But there is no guarantee Apple will pull this off.