Thursday, February 26, 2015

Apple Patent Outlines Mobile App Data Sharing and Collaboration Over Facetime

Apple’s U.S. Patent for `Interactive Application Sharing’

Though screen sharing for collaboration is a popular function on desktops, it is yet to make its way to mobile devices and as assigned by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple’s U.S. Patent for `Interactive application sharing’, comprises of provisions which enables multiple users in sharing as well as collaborating on project in app such as Google’s Web based productivity services.

Apple is making headway in video conferencing capabilities though making it a more personal collaboration tool. Apple’s patent indicates that the company is working towards a new screen and data sharing method for iPad and iPhones. The patent outlines a method wherein several users could share their screens as well as app data while working on iOS devices.

It was acknowledged by Apple that the users of iPhone and iPads have been sharing data and states that the existing solution like sharing of documents by email would not be efficient and the company has come up with a system which enables users to share document data in a common app in real time on several iOS devices in some cases with media and screen sharing or live video as well.

Interactive Application Sharing 

As per Apple’s invention, the user initiates a collaboration session with at least another device which accepts the wireless connection and the initiating device could host the session with screen as well as data updates to the second device across a suitable wireless communication The system enables interactive application sharing that transfers specific app data to and fro across an established wireless bridge where a standard user interface is not described.

 The Patent indicates app data can be overlaid over a FaceTime image and vice versa. The video feed in some instances could serve as a background for the iOS Spring-Board before the selection of a common app for sharing. An illustration indicates what appears to be a mother reading `Winnie the Pooh’ to their child from what is presumed to be a remote location, though no mention is made in the document text and the scene is a reminder of Apple’s fire FaceTime TV commercials which attempted the ability to connect remotely to family from a distant.

Security – Set Privacy Designators – Private/Public

Users could opt to share data in some embodiments, only when another option of communication takes place between two devices such as a host device could opt to limit data sharing to FaceTime calls, a protocol which needs adequate bandwidth capacity. For the purpose of security, users could set privacy designators to indicate data as private or public.

Moreover the user could also choose to share available times with another user while leaving event specifics, concealed. Rest of the patent provides detail pertaining to the proposed system’s user interface, communication backend and operating workflow, besides other details.

FaceTime collaboration Patent of Apple was filed first in January 2012 and credits go to Brandon Joseph Kieft and Catherine Rose Grevet as its inventors. It is unclear whether Apple has intentions of bringing the version of present day’s invention to market though competitors such as Google are already striving on similar technology of real time collaboration.

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