Apple has been granted an interesting new patent today that covers a personal shopping application. The app provides retail and pricing information based on user location and scanned barcodes.

The patent was published this morning by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. And if it’s any indication of what Apple’s working on, it could mean we’re in for some nice surprises  on the iWallet front…

PatentlyApple made the find:

“Apple has received their first granted patent relating to methods for conducting shopping-related transactions with a handheld electronics device. In some embodiments a mobile electronic device may be used to identify a product and obtain pricing information relevant to retailers of the product within a specified geographical location.

In another embodiment, a mobile electronic device may be used to acquire pricing information for a shopping list of products. Embodiments may also include a variety of features that make the shopping experience quick and efficient while allowing the consumer to hunt for a better bargain. Furthermore, several embodiments also allow the product manufacturers and/or retailers to distribute relevant product information to targeted consumers who are known to be, or who may be, interested in buying a particular product.”

Back in June of this year, Apple unveiled its Passbook application. The app, which will launch alongside iOS 6 this fall, will allow users to store gift cards and event tickets in a digital wallet-like fashion. But what if Apple started adding features to it?

It’s true, that functions talked about in the above patent are already covered by a number of third-party apps in the App Store. But obviously, Apple has the power to make a more cohesive experience, inside both the app and retail stores.

[9to5Mac]