It's a patent. It also means that because Apple owns the patent - no one else can use the technology on their phone thus preventing the whole industry from using the technology.
Yes owning a patent can prevent another company from ever using the technology.
The technology to be able to control your phone has technically & theoretically been available for years as well as tracking and so forth.
I don't see them using the technology and it's a benefit that to us that they got to patent the idea first before anyone else did.
By the way this story is old. It was posted months ago.