Apple patent envisions digital autographs


Have you ever read a book or listened to music and wanted an autograph of the author or artist? For printed items, the wish is easily granted – not so for their electronic equivalent. Now Apple has filed to patent a method for embedding autographs in ebooks and other digital material.

The patent application, titled ‘Embedding an autograph in an electronic book,’ describes a way an author can use a special application to digitally sign an ebook, video, song or author content, then share it with owners of the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad devices…

“Autographed copies of books or album covers can hold special meaning to the reader and Apple wants to reproduce at least some of that significance by embedding personalized digital signatures in a digital medium,” AppleInsider writes.

Apple envisions a “hotspot” of sorts in an ebook where an autograph could be embedded. Content creators would implement an autograph using the iBooks Author app. The autograph could either be sent a short distance by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to your iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Apple currently employs a combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networking for the iOS 7 AirDrop feature and touch-to-setup, a new capability of the recently released Apple TV 6.0 software.

To ensure that autograph of Stephen King is real, Apple outlines a digital certificate that can be stored in the cloud and moves along with the ebook.


Realizing you may not be able to get close to your favorite author to obtain a signature, the patent filing also describes a way that autographs can be sent from the author to the cloud and then onto the recipient.

Another option is an autograph session over the Internet, with identification keys and encrypted signature transferred to a specific device along with the accompanying certificate.

The application also mentions a way for an author or artist to embed items other than their signatures. For instance, an ebook author could embed a video clip or a soundbite.

The patent application was first filed in 2012.