Apple Explores Wireless Sharing
A recent Apple patent application entitled "Media Data Exchange, Transfer, or Delivery for Portable Electronic Devices" is generating some buzz.
The patent application was filed on September 1, 2006 and addresses methods for mobile devices to wirelessly discover others in the local vicinity and transmit data from one another. Examples of data shared include video, music, games, photos, playlists, and slideshows. They do make special note of restricted sharing for certain media that may have "limited-use rights".
Electronista notes that the method could be used for something more useful than just one-to-one transfers:
Users could even create a random or semi-random effect through this method by telling the device or server on the opposite end to randomly load the device with content, similar to the way the iPod shuffle's AutoFill creates a new mix of songs through USB.
Some comparisons are being made to Microsoft's Zune product which allows Zune-to-Zune wireless sharing, though Zune's launch was approximately 2 months following the filing of this patent application. As well, historically, Apple has explored similar auto-discovery techniques (over RF at the time) with early prototypes of the Apple Newton (pre-1993).