New iPhone location patentApple’s almost certainly hard at work on the fourth generation iPhone and a pair of new patents seem to hint at what we can expect from the new iPhone. That’s a front-facing camera and Google Latitude-like location features for a start…

Apple denied Google Latitude a place in the iTunes App Store last year, leaving it to live on as a web app for the iPhone. Now it seems its planning similar geo-location smarts for the new iPhone. Maybe that’s why Google didn’t get the green light.

If Apple puts the new patent into action, the new iPhone would allow you to send location data in a text message or via instant messenger. The recipient could then fire up the new iPhone’s Maps application to see your location relative to where they are.

Apple snaffled up its own mapping company in October last year, so it’s likely we’ll see a brand new Maps app as part of the new iPhone. Adding additional location features to use the new iPhone’s compass and GPS duo would certainly make sense.

The reference to instant messenger abilities is low-key but also pretty exciting, perhaps heralding a new iPhone with built in support for iChat, rather than having to rely on third-party instant messenger clients. And baking IM into the new iPhone would also suggest multi-tasking might be on the horizon.

The second Apple patent also suggests that the new iPhone will feature a front-facing camera. That’s something we’ve spotted previously, so the new patented just adds weight to the idea of a new iPhone with iChat and facial recognition abilities.

We’re on tenterhooks for the rumoured launch of the Apple Tablet later this month but this summer should be exciting too with the new iPhone on the way. What are you hoping for?

Due TBA | £TBA | Apple (via 9to5Mac)

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