Apple Explores Wireless Sharing

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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A recent Apple patent application entitled "Media Data Exchange, Transfer, or Delivery for Portable Electronic Devices" is generating some buzz.

The patent application was filed on September 1, 2006 and addresses methods for mobile devices to wirelessly discover others in the local vicinity and transmit data from one another. Examples of data shared include video, music, games, photos, playlists, and slideshows. They do make special note of restricted sharing for certain media that may have "limited-use rights".

Electronista notes that the method could be used for something more useful than just one-to-one transfers:
Users could even create a random or semi-random effect through this method by telling the device or server on the opposite end to randomly load the device with content, similar to the way the iPod shuffle's AutoFill creates a new mix of songs through USB.
Some comparisons are being made to Microsoft's Zune product which allows Zune-to-Zune wireless sharing, though Zune's launch was approximately 2 months following the filing of this patent application. As well, historically, Apple has explored similar auto-discovery techniques (over RF at the time) with early prototypes of the Apple Newton (pre-1993).

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Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,080
287
Indianapolis
Did we have some other wireless patents on this show up earlier this year? I believe they were self-setup networks though. Devices would search for others and pair up to share.
 

p0intblank

macrumors 68030
Sep 20, 2005
2,548
2
New Jersey
I would love to be able to share my music and photos on my iPhone, just like how you can on the Mac. Make it password protected and I'm sold. :)
 

reubs

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2006
1,675
8
Could be interesting to see. Would be a lot easier than e mail in some instances, I'm sure. I just don't know if I want some people to have full access to everything on my HDD...
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,562
631
Cork, Ireland.
Oh, bugger. :p This sounds similar to an idea I worked on some time back. (Simply, a phone/PDA peer to peer software in which you set up search/favourites criteria, and as you move about it automatically detects peers and downloads any content it finds relevant to your preferences.)

Had a catchy product name & URL registered and all.. But it was a security & battery-life nightmare, so I abandoned it.

It'll be interesting to see how Apple handles these issues, if this ends up in a shipping product.
 

Raid

macrumors 68020
Feb 18, 2003
2,150
4,353
Toronto
Could be interesting to see. Would be a lot easier than e mail in some instances, I'm sure. I just don't know if I want some people to have full access to everything on my HDD...
I was thinking the same thing. I'm sure Apple is going to do some inventive stuff with this, but they are going to have to maintain the devices security and enhance the transfer speed... otherwise it would seem just like bluetooth technology with a few extra bells and whistles.

For now I'll just wait and see how long it will take to see this rumour embedded in the iPhone v2 enhancments. ;)
 

failsafe1

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2003
619
0
Anyway to tie this into the announcement about the easy printing setup? Sharing from your iPhone to your printer perhaps? Print those pesky e-mails or directions?
 

Black Belt

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2007
722
404
California
"Squirting", or in Apple's case "Spitting Apple Seeds" is nice but you could do some very cool stuff with this like having your iPod in your car get new podcasts and playlists by just pulling into your garage.
 

LillieDesigns

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2005
323
56
Los Angeles
Only thing I don't like is that Steve mocked Zune users awhile back saying this method of sharing was stupid and a "real man (gadget guy...I dunno) would go over to a girl and share headphones.

Now there's hype about using the technology...all I really want is over the air iTunes downloads.
 

rob@robburns.co

macrumors regular
Jun 25, 2007
162
0
non-AV sharing

Perhaps this too mundane and practical, but I would really like to see user initiated sharing of address book cards (vcards), urls, and public certificates (like RSA, etc). This way you could share your electronic business card with someone or a public certificate to bootstrap a secure trust relationship: all face-to-face.

This could be a big deal, where you could even go into a bank in person; open an account; and leave with a public cert from the bank (later synced to your desktop via iTunes) that would completely obsolete all current phishing schemes.

The other great thing would be to transfer funds between two people. I hear in Finland (and probably other places too), people already use their cell-phone to make small purchases (vending machines and such). Perhaps we don't have the infrastructure here in the U.S. yet, but even to just connect it in with paypal and completely automate the payment and payment confirmation process between two iPhones or iPods would be very nice.
 

fangiotophia

macrumors newbie
Jan 16, 2006
25
0
Fort Worth, Texas
What all could they send?

I have a feeling that this is going to be used in a very different way than people expect. I have been hearing buzz about universities possibly using the iPhone in the classroom. All rumors at the moment, but I can see the advantage of the professor coming in with his/her presentation on their iPhone and sharing it to all of the students. Giving out your contact information would be a cinch and if done properly. What better way for a student to submit their homework than by simply walking in the room?

I think this has some amazing possibilities for the future. All Apple has to do is put their imagination to work (which shouldn't be hard considering they do it every day).

:apple:
 

bravedeer

macrumors member
Nov 14, 2006
65
0
I disagree...

The problem with that implementation is the same as with the Zune's. Basically most people don't want to be sent random songs from random people.

What we need is a reverse implementation where you can browse people's music , listen to sample and pick what you want to download.

The Zune implementation is like going to iTunes and having it send you songs instead of you choosing what you want.

I have a feeling that this is going to be used in a very different way than people expect. I have been hearing buzz about universities possibly using the iPhone in the classroom. All rumors at the moment, but I can see the advantage of the professor coming in with his/her presentation on their iPhone and sharing it to all of the students. Giving out your contact information would be a cinch and if done properly. What better way for a student to submit their homework than by simply walking in the room?

I think this has some amazing possibilities for the future. All Apple has to do is put their imagination to work (which shouldn't be hard considering they do it every day).

:apple:
 
Oh, bugger. :p This sounds similar to an idea I worked on some time back. (Simply, a phone/PDA peer to peer software in which you set up search/favourites criteria, and as you move about it automatically detects peers and downloads any content it finds relevant to your preferences.)

Had a catchy product name & URL registered and all.. But it was a security & battery-life nightmare, so I abandoned it.

It'll be interesting to see how Apple handles these issues, if this ends up in a shipping product.
You're exactly right. The concept of auto-detection is hardly new and in itself is not patentable. However specific implementations which could save power are patentable (assuming they are novel and not used/written about in the public domain.)

The only real barrier i see to this being a product is power consumption.
If apple doesn't have a way to reduce the power used, then this is not possible.
 

peters438

macrumors newbie
Jun 9, 2007
19
0
I remember when Bluetooth first started showing up on phones and PDA's. Me and a friend spent an hour sending each other wireless business cards. Hardly a killer app.

I'm not sure I'd want to waste my iPod or iPhone's battery so everyone in Starbucks can listen to my music. Steve's right--real men share headphones.

Of course, the real benefit of technology like this is easy transfer of content you've created--like photos, videos, slideshows.