Apple has acquired a new patent for Apple Maps that will enable your device to determine whether you are indoors or outside. Patent No. 9,066,207, Apple's patent for "managing states of location determination," contains descriptions of a system that mobile devices can use to leverage location, communication and other sensors in order to obtain information concerning state of motion and venue.

Apple plans to utilize onboard iOS sensors to automatically change from a single location subsystem (i.e. GPS) to another without user interaction. This makes the iPhone capable of providing seamless directions from a car, anywhere outside or indoors.

The device will determine its current state through a first sensor subsystem (i.e. GPS satellite signals) while in what Apple calls a "venue-independent" state, or simply unobstructed outdoor areas. The Maps do not operate any differently from its current ability to provide navigation and real-time location data.

If the GPS signal is lost/unavailable or if you are inside a building, the device defers to a "venue-specific" operating state. Some structures might have wireless access points instead of GPS that might be stored in a location database. Although, the change in state may also be sensed by an iPhone's ability to detect pressure fluctuations involved in the elevation between floors.

The transition procedure uses a secondary subsystem to enable itself to deliver a more accurate location proximation than the first subsystem. Thus, transitioning between a weak GPS signal to a strong indoor RF signal will trigger the handoff. During this switch, the device will draw in data for an indoor map to provide pathways through hallways, rooms, walls and the like.

Apple's iBeacon microlocation would be extremely compatible with this technology and could even replace wireless access points if Bluetooth is enabled.

The possible Apple Maps upgrade should probably be rather easy to figure out. However, if you need any assistance, the IT consultants MC Services can help you with the Apple support and iOS management you or your company may need.