Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been awarded a patent for NFC-based cross-platform data transfer solution, a technology which will allow users of multiple Apple devices to transfer data between devices with a simple tap.
Apple has been issued a patent called “system and method for simplified data transfer” from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a system that uses near field communications (also called NFC) to transfer data between devices. This technology is similar to the “S Beam” feature found on Samsung Galaxy phones. NFC components have yet to appear in Apple products, but will be particularly useful for owners of multiple Apple devices. In one embodiment of the patent, a user can tap a NFC-equipped iPhone against a NFC-equipped Mac to easily transfer files between the two devices.
NFC capabilities used to be fairly uncommon in American technology, having had more of a following in other countries, such as Japan. Recently, Samsung introduced NFC technology in its Galaxy line of phones. The “S Beam” feature is built on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android Beam utility. The basic Android version relies on NFC solely for transport, while the S Beam is closer to the new Apple patent.
With Samsung’s S Beam capabilities, users can tap their phones together to share photos, video, and other media, as well as advanced device-to-device functionality. Apple’s patent also describes such capabilities, but would go even further to offer support for many different file types. NFC capabilities could be used in any of Apple’s products, including Apple TV and remotes, in addition to iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. Two new apps outlined in the patent, one called “Grab and Go” and one called “Revisit,” would allow users to sync data from open applications on another device and store data in the cloud.
NFC has typically been used as a way to make mobile payments, but the patent clearly outlines many other uses for the technology. Apple has not used NFC technology before, but this patent shows that the company believes the technology is now viable, and it soon will be a feature of iPhones, iPads, and more.