Apple's yearly developer conference should see iOS 8, OS X 10.10, and likely some hardware.
Apple Researching Camera-Based Digital Handshakes for Sharing Data Between Devices
Patently Apple points to a patent application from Apple published today that discloses the company's investigation of new methods for establishing communication between nearby devices for the purposes of exchanging data. In its application, Apple proposes the use of camera systems and identifying marks such as barcodes or even invisible ink to allow devices to recognize each other.
For example, each device can display a seed to be identified from an image taken by the other device. Using the extracted keys or seeds, each device can generate, using a same process, an identical digital handshake key. The digital handshake key can then be used to define a secure communications path between the two devices and share information securely.Apple describes a number of settings in which users might wish to quickly establish secure connections between devices, from social networking to gaming to retail transactions. Apple also describes how a user could quickly log into a device such as a computer by using a digital handshake initiated from another device such as an iPhone.
The patent application was filed in May 2010 and is credited to Apple user interface designers Marcel Van Os and Caroline Cranfill.