Apple patent (AirDrop transfers 001)

A 2009 Apple patent application is gaining renewed attention, not only because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today issued a patent to the iPhone maker, but how the technology could keep pace with smartphone rival Samsung.

At issue is finding a way to easily transfer data between handsets and desktop computers. The patent, titled “System and method for simplified data transfer” describes how two Apple devices could wirelessly sync data using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a system as yet unavailable in Apple products but part of Samsung’s S Beam feature on select NFC-enabled Galaxy devices…

Apple, in a summary of the 84-page patent further explains:

Such simplified data transfer may include initiating communication using near field communications (NFC) between two devices.

Next, data associated with open applications on of the two devices may be saved. Transferring the data may take place using a peer-to-peer connection other than via NFC.

In other words, a normal Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection could handle the actual data transfer.

Apple patent (AirDrop transfers 002)

In one example, a user could tap a Mac with his iPhone.

NFC would sense the two devices and initiate a Wi-Fi connection to transfer a Keynote presentation from the desktop computer to the handset.

The patent matches up with recent talk of Apple possibly implementing an AirDrop-like file transfer feature in iOS 7. As well, an earlier Apple patent outlined data transfers when devices were in close proximity.

Apple patent (AirDrop transfers 003)

Although Samsung’s S Beam tech is more in line with Apple’s vision – again, which calls for an NFC connection kicking-off a Wi-Fi transfer – Samsung’s feature is currently limited to sharing media, such as photos and videos. By contrast, Apple’s implementation would also support other file types, including music.

Here’s a video detailing the somewhat complicated steps needed to transfer stuff between Galaxy devices via S Beam.

Like many other patents, this one describes technology not included in Apple’s current devices. Although most of Apple’s patents never get used, the absence of NFC in iPhones prompts us to wonder whether the patent published today could foretell NFC iPhones that support AirDrop-like device-to-device transfers.

Or, perhaps it simply provides more ammunition against Samsung should another court battle erupt.

  • RarestName

    It’s odd how much easier it is to use AirBlue Sharing as compared to S Beam.

    • jilex

      like using the bluetooth on any android device

      • RarestName

        I meant the Wi-Fi transfer thing 🙂

  • STK10

    you get a video of some idiot that has made the worst video on s-beam use and say the process is complicated. you touch the 2 devices together, touch the screen and it sends.. Yeah really complicated.

    • Jerry


    • s0me

      Maybe he comprehends slower?

  • Pitchy

    How is that video complicated? You just go into your settings to make sure NFC and S Beam is turned on and then you open up a picture place your phone near the other phone. This is not the best video to demonstrate the process… but I guess since this is Apple bias, that you guys looked for the worst possible video you could find. It is an incredibly simple process to do. If going into Settings > More Settings is complicated, then dear god, maybe you don’t need a “smartphone”

    • Sigurd Boe

      You got to understand that the vast majority of users would find this both tedious, and hard to learn. I thankfully only work with IT in the business market, but I still end up having contact with lots of users that does not know what the Desktop is, nor how to navigate there.

      It has to do with interest, for large scale adoption and success of a feature it should not be in the way, even for the for people thats 50+ and should have taken computer courses.

      • Bunna Chea

        Your word make no sense mn.

      • Hi

        Yes because literally putting 2 phones back to back is tedious and hard to learn.

    • syler

      You don’t even have to go into settings just use the toggles in the notification center that’s what I do and it only takes about 10 seconds to do it.

  • File transfer should be device-to-device ALWAYS and not depending on a router or any other external technology (like Clouds and other stuff).

    That was always the biggest flaw of iDevices since the beginning. And I remember seeing Steve Jobs in one of the “all things d” videos, talking about that and recognizing that flaw.

    • Sigurd Boe

      You do not realize that wifi works Ad-Hook as well? The feature to do that is even called Ad-hook (don’t you like it when feature names are explanatory? Now say it again ad-hook, ad-hook)

      Also bluetooth (boring and slow) for low power transfers.

      • Mykel Monroe

        Do you mean Ad-hoc?

      • Ad-hoc is boring, because it takes many steps to configure only for two devices share some stuff. So don’t even compare.

        Now “wi-fi direct” it’s another story. You should Google about that and understand the difference.

  • Evgeny Boutvilovski

    What an ironic headline

  • Frostybrutality

    Bluetooth would do the job as well. Plus i could be farther away and do the same thing.

  • Gorgonphone

    but umm apple does not like daring sooooo

  • s0me

    I find it way complicated to turn 3g/data – on/off then that. (Too many taps)

  • chjode

    Isn’t this just Bump? That’s been in the app store for years already.

  • Crowned_59


  • Yunsar

    Does S Beam send an Internet link to the other device os it can download the file or does it transfer the file with NFC as well? If it transfers it with NFC, shouldn’t the devices touch each other until the process is complete?

    • STK10

      you touch them to initiate then separate once they have made the connection.

  • Hi

    They will probably end up suing Samsung for copying them now.