Apple patents mysterious Nearby icon, believed to be part of iOS 7 AirDrop

By , Jun 25, 2013

AirDrop featured

Among the 35 patents the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple Tuesday was a design for a never before seen icon entitled Nearby. The icon could describe a wireless transfer feature expected in iOS 7, called Airdrop. This latest patent dump also unveils new emoticons for Messages, as well as another design patent for Apple’s Lightning adapter…

According to Patently Apple, the Nearby icon “may have been originally contemplated to cover nearby data transfers” as part of iOS 7.

As we reported earlier this month, AirDrop would extend a feature already available on Lion-based Macs to new iOS devices, solving one of the biggest headaches: file transfers.

Indeed, when first announced at this year’s WWDC, Apple poked fun at rival Samsung, telling the crowd files could be transferred without any bumping or walking around the room required.

apple-nearby-icon

In another hint as to the meaning of the Nearby icon, Apple’s iOS 7 web page described Airdrop’s ability to find nearby users:

Just tap Share, then select the person you want to share with. AirDrop does the rest using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. No setup required. And transfers are encrypted, so what you share is highly secure.

Apple also was granted a patent on a new batch of emoticons for the Messages application, as well as the design of the Lightning adapter.

iOS Messages emoticons patent

A third intriguing patent describes a 3D trackpad for the MacBook which replaces the traditional keyboard and trackpad with a touch-sensitive glass on both sides. Such a design, Apple writes, could also be used in other devices, such as smartphones, desktop PC, and gaming consoles.

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  • Gorgonphone

    ummmmmmmmmm that icon does not look like IOS7 “flat” style what going on here?

    • Core

      well it was obviously filed awhile ago because in that screenshot it has the white status bar

      • Gorgonphone

        dang i was getting m hopes up.. ;(

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    It was way back when Forstall was in charge… It was for

    PAN: personal networking for tethering and ad-hoc connections between mobile devices (multi-player gaming)

    in iOS 3…

  • Mr. E

    Some of those emoji’s are different. New ones?

    • Pramith Fonseka

      Did you even read the article?

      • Mr. E

        Yeah I did. It was just a thought. Sorry if it didn’t make sense to you

  • WolfgangHoltz

    So Apple finally allows to send between units. This my old Palm Treo could do, over 10 years ago. What happened Apple have employed new developers.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      It’s called a greedy business tactic….

  • seyss

    airdrop is such a let down. no support for iphone, iphone 3g, iphone 3gs, iphone 4, iphone 4s. the main point is to be able to send stuff to anyone

    • ɑղժɾҽա

      First of all, Airdrop is part of iOS 7 and <iPhone 3GS does not support it. iPhone 4 was lucky to get iOS 7 support, and iPhone 4S should've gotten the feature.

      • Antonakis Kipouros Nikopolidis

        awesome, hehe!

    • q34t

      u can always send files via bluetooth..all models supported..

      • seyss

        wut