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Apple exploring simpler networking, printer discovery via RFID or something new

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Apple has shown interest in improving device discoverability and local networking using existing technology like RFID, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or even a new proprietary wireless method.

The details come from Apple's latest patent application, entitled "Local Device Awareness," and discovered by AppleInsider. The document, made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes a number of electronic devices within close proximity being able to automatically communicate with each other and share information with minimal to no user input.

Apple notes in its patent application that while networked devices can communicate with each other over great distances, communicative proximity is not equal to physical proximity.

The Mac maker's solution would not only make device discoverability simpler, but could strip away some of the current requirements, such as the need for devices be located on the same Wi-Fi network. Devices could communicate through a unique protocol that would constantly be on the lookout for new hardware to connect to.

Networking capable devices like Macs or iPhones, as well as other hardware like specially equipped printers, could communicate with one another over existing standards like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to allow discoverability. Another technology repeatedly mentioned in Apple's application is radio-frequency identification, or RFID, which is a short-range wireless standard that is currently found in a limited number of devices.

The application notes that Apple could also adopt a new, unique wireless technology that would allow devices to communicate without tying up services that are often used for other purposes, like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The system could even use GPS to locate the exact position of a piece of hardware and display it on a map, like letting a user know where a printer or projector are located.



With this greater level of connectivity, Apple could also offer simpler interactivity. The application makes note of a unique user interface for sending tasks to certain devices. For example, using a touchscreen device like an iPad, a user could drag and drop a document onto a projector icon to have that document displayed on the device.

In addition to more practical functions like connecting to a printer, Apple's application notes that this method could also be used for playing multiplayer games. It describes a game where users might shake an accelerometer-equipped device like an iPhone or an iPad to roll a set of virtual dice, or even use physical dice equipped with RFID.

The proposed invention is credited to Brett Bilbrey, Aleksander Pance, Nicholas King and Todd Benjamin. It was originally filed with the USPTO on Dec. 31, 2009.
post #2 of 20
Anything to make hardware discovery (and subsequent engagement) more intuitive and transparent would be a GOOD thing. Apple has a long way to go in that regard.
post #3 of 20
Interesting idea, but I feel an IT nightmare at hand. Having to join an established network (even if it's more than one) is a safety feature. Having connections all willy-nilly is dangerous at best. We IT admins already freak out about all the WiFi and bluetooth wireless devices in today's computers.

Developing and submitting a network protocol for industry standard adoption = good. Proprietary networking protocol = bad.
post #4 of 20
Haha! I bet they're doing that for their own benefit. Have you any idea how complicated their own internal network inside their HQ looks? Employees probably see a gazillion printers each, and may have no idea which is the closest. On the other hand, that probably eliminates the need for their Fitness Center, as employees can get their exercise by running to the far end of the building to get their printouts!

I imagine Steve is worried that once they build the Spaceship HQ, some employees will get lost in the cyclotron and just keep running around, around and around, all day long, looking for their printouts.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

Haha! I bet they're doing that for their own benefit. Have you any idea how complicated their own internal network inside their HQ looks? Employees probably see a gazillion printers each, and may have no idea which is the closest. On the other hand, that probably eliminates the need for their Fitness Center, as employees can get their exercise by running to the far end of the building to get their printouts!

I imagine Steve is worried that once they build the Spaceship HQ, some employees will get lost in the cyclotron and just keep running around, around and around, all day long, looking for their printouts.

Printouts? Why not just email your colleague a document and have them open it up on their iPad? Better yet, integrate the new AirDrop in Lion into iOS, and then all you have to do is select the person you wan to send it to!
post #6 of 20
what's wrong with wifi?
post #7 of 20
Networking and file sharing (especially) continues to be needlessly complex. Apple would benefit by studying what hoops real users need to jump through to perform the simplest of tasks... and don't even get me started with the videoconferencing... Facetime AND iChat? Please.

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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Networking and file sharing (especially) continues to be needlessly complex. Apple would benefit by studying what hoops real users need to jump through to perform the simplest of tasks... and don't even get me started with the videoconferencing... Facetime AND iChat? Please.

iChat? Who uses iChat nowadays?

If you didn't notice, that was in jest. Because while Apple could drop iChat completely, that would mean that people wouldn't be able to talk to people over AIM or Jabber or Google Talk. So FaceTime is currently the technology they're trying to push, except that they haven't released the standard, despite them saying it is an open standard. Once FaceTime becomes mainstream (i.e. working on PCs and Android phones), then Apple will likely have no problem dropping iChat.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Networking and file sharing (especially) continues to be needlessly complex. Apple would benefit by studying what hoops real users need to jump through to perform the simplest of tasks... and don't even get me started with the videoconferencing... Facetime AND iChat? Please.

Apple seems to be stepping up in a big way with filesharing concerning AirDrop. If it works as seamlessly as it looks like it does, it could be huge. They need to integrate into iOS ASAP.

As far as the video conferencing, I would have to agree. FaceTime and iChat seem to cater to two different types, but why couldn't it have been integrated into one? I really like what Google is doing with Google+ and hangouts, where it's a constant video chat with your friends that anybody can jump in and out of at any time. Apple needs to figure out a way to do this with FaceTime, and then integrate iChat into FaceTime, or vice versa.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

iChat? Who uses iChat nowadays?

If you didn't notice, that was in jest. Because while Apple could drop iChat completely, that would mean that people wouldn't be able to talk to people over AIM or Jabber or Google Talk. So FaceTime is currently the technology they're trying to push, except that they haven't released the standard, despite them saying it is an open standard. Once FaceTime becomes mainstream (i.e. working on PCs and Android phones), then Apple will likely have no problem dropping iChat.

What I don't understand is, why can't Apple integrate FaceTime and iMessage on the iOS devices into a single iChat app? And then make it compatible to talk to iChat users on a Mac? What is stopping them from doing this?
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

Printouts? Why not just email your colleague a document and have them open it up on their iPad? Better yet, integrate the new AirDrop in Lion into iOS, and then all you have to do is select the person you wan to send it to!

Or you could just use Syncellence to do it.
 
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post #12 of 20
Such a terrible thing to deal with trying to balance Enterprise lock down and Consumer ease of use...

Oh yeah, Apple doesn't care much about Enterprise...how could I forget.
post #13 of 20
They could start by recognising that apple devices connected to the same Apple ID should be talking.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

What I don't understand is, why can't Apple integrate FaceTime and iMessage on the iOS devices into a single iChat app? And then make it compatible to talk to iChat users on a Mac? What is stopping them from doing this?

Every feature they make for OSX should be compatible with iOS and vice versa.

Apple doesn't seem to understand how much the complexities of owning Apple devices increases as you buy more.

What should happen is that the *synergies* increase.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Networking and file sharing (especially) continues to be needlessly complex. Apple would benefit by studying what hoops real users need to jump through to perform the simplest of tasks... and don't even get me started with the videoconferencing... Facetime AND iChat? Please.

Exactly !

I'm keen to buy an iPad but have to run through all the scenarios I won't be able to use it for and figure all the third party services and apps I need to plug the simplest of tasks that involve using information on one device/OS and continuing on the other device/OS when I go out or come home. It's an uncoordinated mess.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

Exactly !

I'm keen to buy an iPad but have to run through all the scenarios I won't be able to use it for and figure all the third party services and apps I need to plug the simplest of tasks that involve using information on one device/OS and continuing on the other device/OS when I go out or come home. It's an uncoordinated mess.

Yes. Apple, in both networking and videoconferencing are guilty of making what should be simple and invisible to the user a complete car wreck.

Someone tell Steve.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #17 of 20
Too bad Microsoft bought Skype. FaceTime is doomed. \

Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

iChat? Who uses iChat nowadays?

If you didn't notice, that was in jest. Because while Apple could drop iChat completely, that would mean that people wouldn't be able to talk to people over AIM or Jabber or Google Talk. So FaceTime is currently the technology they're trying to push, except that they haven't released the standard, despite them saying it is an open standard. Once FaceTime becomes mainstream (i.e. working on PCs and Android phones), then Apple will likely have no problem dropping iChat.
post #18 of 20
AirPlay for printers.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #19 of 20
iOS 5, iCloud and OS X Lion present the opportunity for Apple to address these issues.

It's pretty apparent that the two related OS'es are converging ever so gradually and deliberately, and iCloud certainly has the potential to be the glue that binds it all together.

If so, what applies to iWork user file automatic version updating (as demoed in WWDC) and the ability to open the same file at the last point of edit in another iDevice should apply to other applications like printing, video chat, texting and even voice calling (the latter has just been implemented on the HP Touchpad / Palm Pre 2 whereby a call or text can be continued on the tablet after being initiated on the cellphone). "The Truth is in the iCloud", remember? :-)

It would be highly convenient in an office environment to be able to start a print job from your Mac, walk over to the printer with your iPhone/iPad, then use it to halt the print job to make corrections to the file (the latest version of which will automatically display on your iDevice) and resume printing again, possibly switching to another nearby printer in the process. Taking things further, one should be able to iMessage or FaceTime a recipient to notify her to pick up the document from her nearest printer, walk back to your Mac, and continue the iMessage/FaceTime session from there to enquire what she thinks of the revisions you've made.

Now that would be the epitome of seamlessness, flexibility and versatility.

Hurry Apple and bring the Future now :-)
post #20 of 20
If everyone does not think Apple is methodically moving toward interconnectivity between it's devices you are not paying attention. Soon there will be no need for the carriers. Lifes blood suckers that they are... I vote for carrier obsolesance, even if "all things are connected" and they are only Apple devices....good for Apple...Stifle innovation? Who are these people that constantly berate the prime innovator in the tech industry?
Personally: I don't do windows! Will not return an email from an @MSN!
Will not touch a Dull! For any reason!
Fanboy? You all have no idea who I really am..hehe
Apple is evolving into a "all things are connected company" All things Apple anyway.
And why not....it's the 21st century people. Get used to it..haha..
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