Making friends is hard. Apple knows this. In fact, the company outlined such difficulty in a newly surfaced patent, highlighting the sort of "long and awkward conversation" sometimes required to discover common interests. The patent application, filed back in late-2009, describes a location-based social network that helps users discover people in their vicinity, based on common interests like books, movies, and, naturally, music. Of course, Cupertino already dipped its toes in the social networking waters with the iTunes-based Ping, which, in spite of initial excitement, failed to really capture the imagination of Apple's dedicated base. And this isn't the first time the company has flirted with the idea of location-based social networking either, as a patent that surfaced halfway through last year can attest. The company has clearly learned its lesson with this one, however, and that lesson is: more drawings of women winking and references to Springsteen songs in the application process.

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Apple patent application highlights location-based social networking, encourages intimate pinging