A newly-published patent application from Apple (via AppleInsider) describes a method to allow users to "gift" media content purchased via iTunes and from their own libraries to other users through near-field communication (NFC), suggesting that the technology may eventually find a way onto iOS devices in the near future. The patent, which was filed back in March of this year and stretches over a lengthy 63 pages, describes a system whereby:

...an offer and acceptance of a selected gift file is accomplished between a gifter device and a receiving giftee device using a near-field communication (NFC) connection.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 1.45.19 pm

The filing shows a picture of a generic iPhone with an additional chip (labeled 50 in the above diagram) on both the front and rear of the device which may potentially allow users to exchange content through NFC. The patent describes two methods of "gifting" – either by purchasing the media directly from the iTunes Store and sending to another user's Apple ID or by sending a copy of already-owned media to another device, which is currently unavailable on all iOS devices.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 2.35.16 pm

The patented method involves digital media protection keys, such as a DRM key, that allows the "gifted" file to be only played on one device in accordance with copyright regulations. This is similar to the existing method of gifting through the iTunes Store, however the transfer would be over NFC, not the Internet or 3G. The NFC chip may allow for data transfer speeds of up to 560 Mbps, according to the filing, and may be compatible with the new TransferJet protocol, first developed by Sony, which allows for faster transfer speeds between devices. The new chips will have a range of 2–4 cm, so users do not physically have to touch phones.

Apple has so far shied away from NFC technology, instead stepping gingerly into scannable digital tickets, coupons, gift cards and loyalty cards with its own Passbook service introduced with iOS 6. This patent suggests, however, that the company is seriously considering NFC as a feature in upcoming devices. NFC is already available on several other devices, including those running Android, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile, and it allows users to achieve much more with their smartphones, including paying for goods and services (examples include Visa's payWave and Mastercard's PayPass) and using their smartphones on public transport, which is already being tested in several U.S. cities, including New York and Los Angeles.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

JAT Avatar
103 months ago
Wouldn't they have to physically include NFC in an iPhone before we should care?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gadgetguy03 Avatar
103 months ago
Why no mention of AirDrop?

Didn't Tim Cook (or whoever was doing the keynote) say that AirDrop was better because you didn't have to tap phones? It makes more sense for this to be via AirDrop than NFC.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
street.cory Avatar
103 months ago
Why no mention of AirDrop?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BJMRamage Avatar
103 months ago
Boy do I miss iOS6' design. The team probably found it too difficult to try to imitate iOS7 that they just wrote the patent up as if it were for iOS6 :D[COLOR="#808080"]


Looks like they have the iOS5 YouTube app and the iPod app on there too.
guessing this was crafted a while back
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMerik Avatar
103 months ago
I love sharing things with friends wrapped in DRM. :rolleyes:
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...