Apple investigates new ways for users to share and test apps wirelessly

A new patent application submitted by Apple shows the company developing "an improved way to quickly and easily share applications between nearby computing devices."

Apple users have always been keen to show of their latest app purchase to their friends and family (and anyone else on the street they can get to listen to them show off).

"As others see the application, they often desire the same application," writes Patently Apple, a website that closely follows Apple's patent applications, "but getting that application can involve many steps which may cause the user to not retrieve the application.

"A simple error in transcribing the name of the application, forgetting about the application, or any of a myriad of other setbacks can interrupt this chain of actions."

The patent application details new methods in which these problems can be overcome by allowing users to wirelessly share apps between devices using "speech, touch gestures, stylus input, [or] keypad input."

Each application could be encoded with its own set of "sharing preferences" suggests Apple, enabling the user to share fully functional copies, limited functionality demos or time limited copies from one device to another.

When a user shares an application with a friend they would also have the option of including some or all of their settings, history and/or preferences for the application.

Users could receive incentives for sharing applications with their friends suggests the patent application; benefits might include money, store credit, real or digital promotional items or improved status.

An interesting addition to Apple's patent application suggests that users could also share applications based on their location. Users could "leave" applications at a fixed-location sharing device that is incorporated in to a wireless access point (for example at a cafe) and others could access those applications even after the original app-sharing user has left.

Just days ago web giant Google opened its own web-based application store. The company stores its applications in the cloud enabling users to access their own applications from virtually any web-connected device running Google's Chrome (operating system or web browser).

The US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application on December 9.

To read more about the patent application visit:
http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2010/12/apple-ingeniously-at-work-on-a-new-way-to-share-buy-apps.html

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