Apple awarded patent for NFC-based cross-platform data transfer solution

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple a patent for a system that utilizes near field communications to activate device-to-device data syncing, much like the so-called "S Beam" feature found on certain Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

NFC
Source: USPTO


Apple's US Patent No. 8,458,363 for a "System and method for simplified data transfer" is a massive 84-page patent describing a number of ways in which wireless data syncing between two electronic devices can be accomplished. Of note, the property calls for the use of NFC components, which have yet to appear in Apple's product lineup.

The patent was first outlined by AppleInsider when the property's application was published in 2009. At the time, the filing showed promise as an easy method to swap files to and from various devices, especially given its ability to move data cross platform.

From the patent summary:
A method of performing the simplified data transfer may include initiating communication using near field communication (NFC) between two devices. Next, data associated with open applications on one of the two devices may be saved and then transferred to the other. Transferring the data may take place using a peer-to-peer connection other than via NFC.
For example, in one embodiment of the patent, a user can "tap" their NFC-toting iPhone to a similarly equipped Mac to initiate the transfer of wireless network data. Once the Wi-Fi network configuration information is received, files like a Keynote presentation can be transferred from the Mac to the iPhone.

NFC


Any number of NFC-enabled devices and file formats can be used in Apple's system, including the Apple TV and remote, a video game controller, Macs, iPhones, and more. In the patent language, two illustrative apps called "Grab & Go" and "Revisit" described possible mobile functions like syncing data from open applications on another device, and storage of data in the cloud.

NFC


When the application was first published, NFC was an outlier in American consumer products. The technology did have a following in countries like Japan, however, where contactless data transfer solutions like Sony's Felica RFID systems were ? and still are ? in wide use.

More recently, Samusung introduced a similar method of data transfer in its "S Beam" feature, which itself is built on Google's Android Beam utility. While the basic Android version relies solely on NFC as a mode of transport, S Beam is more in line with Apple's granted patent in that NFC is used to initiate an ad hoc wireless connection.

With Samsung's implementation, users can tap their phones together to share photos, video and other media, as well as activate advanced device-to-device functionality. Apple's patent also describes such usage, including peer-to-peer applications, but extends further by including support for a multitude of file types including music.

NFC


It is unclear if Apple will begin to include NFC technology in its product lineup, though Tuesday's patent would serve useful for owners with multiple Apple devices

Among the patent's credited inventors is former Apple executive Tony Fadell, known as the "grandfather of the iPod" and cofounder of thermostat maker Nest. Along with Fadell, the patent credits Michael Rosenblatt, Gloria Lin, Amir Mahood Mikhak, Taido Lantz Nakajima, Sean Anthony Mayo and Andrew Hodge as its inventors.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    ecsecs Posts: 307member
    Does this mean that I'll finally be able to transfer data between iOS and OSX in a simple way, just like you were allowed to do in previous OSX releases with non-iOS phones?
  • Reply 2 of 59
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    Seems about right... Apple files patent in 2009... Samsung implements in 2012... And then advertises the hell out of it as a great innovation.
  • Reply 3 of 59
    jamesmcdjamesmcd Posts: 60member


    So why didn't they just... you know... release it in 2009? or 2010, or 2011, or 2012, or 2013, or ever.

  • Reply 4 of 59
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member


    Shouldn't the title mention the word PATENT?


    Apple awarded NFC-based cross-platform data transfer solution

  • Reply 5 of 59
    nexusphannexusphan Posts: 260member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CustomTB View Post



    Seems about right... Apple files patent in 2009... Samsung implements in 2012... And then advertises the hell out of it as a great innovation.


     


    Uh no. S-beam is Samsung's re-branding of Google's Android beam which debuted in 2011 (and ya know, actually has devices that are NFC equipped)


    Surely you can't be ignorant enough to think that NFC technology is Apple, Samsung or Google's innovation right? The NFC standard was developed by Nokia (among others) in 2004 and has been used in a variety of different devices ever since.

  • Reply 6 of 59
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member


    The NFC Forum was created in 2004.  They're the ones who came up with the idea of NFC initiating a different type of communication for file transfers.   So this patent can't be for just that.  (Edit: and yet it seems to include the idea as one claim, extending it to send all the files open on a "plurality of apps".  Wonder what the NFC creators will think of this.)


     


    --


     


    All NFC devices should support the "NFC peer-to-peer" communications mode. This is intended for device to device messaging.


     


    Over that device comm link, the NFC Data Exchange Format (NDEF) is used to send messages for things like setting up Bluetooth or WiFi connections, transferring contacts, data, photos, etc. 


     


    Each message type can be a URI, a MIME type, or a custom designator.   E.g. if a web URL is sent, then it's up to the receiving device to ignore it, open a browser, store it as a bookmark, or whatever.


     


    It would be great if every device followed at least that standard and could pass basic information such as URLs, photos, contacts and office files.  That goes for every manufacturer.  Above and beyond that, is where the custom designators come in.

  • Reply 7 of 59
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    nexusphan wrote: »
    Uh no. S-beam is Samsung's re-branding of Google's Android beam which debuted in 2011 (and ya know, actually has devices that are NFC equipped)
    Surely you can't be ignorant enough to think that NFC technology is Apple, Samsung or Google's innovation right? The NFC standard was developed by Nokia (among others) in 2004 and has been used in a variety of different devices ever since.
    Actually Googles Beam is NFC. Samsung's beam is different. It only initiates via NFC.

    That is what is covered in this patent. Not transferring via nfc but rather using nfc to initiate a separate, faster connection.
  • Reply 8 of 59
    nexusphannexusphan Posts: 260member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CustomTB View Post





    Actually Googles Beam is NFC. Samsung's beam is different. It only initiates via NFC.



    That is what is covered in this patent. Not transferring via nfc but rather using nfc to initiate a separate, faster connection.


     


    Actually Android beam sets up a connection via bluetooth and all exchanges are handled by bluetooth. It's the exact same thing.


     


    Edited for clarity.

  • Reply 9 of 59
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    nexusphan wrote: »
    Actually Android beam sets up a connection via bluetooth and all exchanges are handled by bluetooth.
    Actually, it doesn't.
    http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/nfc/nfc.html

    "The Android Beam™ feature allows a device to push an NDEF message onto another device by physically tapping the devices together. This interaction provides an easier way to send data than other wireless technologies like Bluetooth, because with NFC, no manual device discovery or pairing is required. The connection is automatically started when two devices come into range. Android Beam is available through a set of NFC APIs, so any application can transmit information between devices. For example, the Contacts, Browser, and YouTube applications use Android Beam to share contacts, web pages, and videos with other devices."
  • Reply 10 of 59
    starbird73starbird73 Posts: 538member
    ecs wrote: »
    Does this mean that I'll finally be able to transfer data between iOS and OSX in a simple way, just like you were allowed to do in previous OSX releases with non-iOS phones?

    Yes, perhaps even on existing devices you own already, with iOS 7 (and maybe even 10.8, 10.9 for sure) - using AirDrop, if rumors are to be believed.
    jamesmcd wrote: »
    So why didn't they just... you know... release it in 2009? or 2010, or 2011, or 2012, or 2013, or ever.

    Apple doesn't usually release something just because they can. They wait until it is a good UX
  • Reply 11 of 59
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


    The NFC Forum was created in 2004.  They're the ones who came up with the idea of NFC initiating a different type of communication for file transfers.   So this patent can't be for just that.  (Edit: and yet it seems to include the idea as one claim, extending it to send all the files open on a "plurality of apps".  Wonder what the NFC creators will think of this.) ...



     


    The patent only says "may use NFC" for the initial recognition part.  This isn't an NFC patent or a patent for NFC communications.  


     


    It's a patent on a method of communication that may include (in one small part), the standard NFC recognition/communication initiation. 

  • Reply 12 of 59
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,665member


    Seems like a pretty one note reason for sticking NFC into a Mac when AirDrop does much the same thing.

  • Reply 13 of 59
    nexusphannexusphan Posts: 260member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post





    Actually, it doesn't.

    http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/nfc/nfc.html



    "The Android Beam™ feature allows a device to push an NDEF message onto another device by physically tapping the devices together. This interaction provides an easier way to send data than other wireless technologies like Bluetooth, because with NFC, no manual device discovery or pairing is required. The connection is automatically started when two devices come into range. Android Beam is available through a set of NFC APIs, so any application can transmit information between devices. For example, the Contacts, Browser, and YouTube applications use Android Beam to share contacts, web pages, and videos with other devices."


     


    You're gonna lose this argument. I use it all the time. It uses bluetooth. I am positive.


     


    Nowhere does what you linked to say the request isn't initiated by NFC and completed using bluetooth.


     


    Edit: Link directly from google


     


    http://www.android.com/options/


     


    "Just touch two NFC-enabled Android devices back-to-back, then tap to beam whatever's on the screen to your friend. Instantly pair your Android phone or tablet to Bluetooth devices like headsets or speakers that support the Simple Secure Pairing standard by just tapping them together"

  • Reply 14 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    Ever heard of a defensive patent?
  • Reply 15 of 59
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    crowley wrote: »
    Seems like a pretty one note reason for sticking NFC into a Mac when AirDrop does much the same thing.
    I'm thinking that since they already have an exactly similar patent from quite a while ago that uses Bluetooth instead of NFC for the original setup, that this service can use NFC or Bluetooth interchangeably. It wouldn't be much of a solution otherwise. They'd have to tell anyone who wanted to transfer their files to a Mac to buy a new Mac and it wouldn't work with Windows machines at all.

    This patent strikes me as a rush re-issue of something they've been talking about for years, with the single addition of NFC technology. It's possible that the only reason to include NFC now, is to make it Android compatible, or at least compatible with hardware that has gone the NFC route instead of Apple's (preferred) Bluetooth solution.
  • Reply 16 of 59
    srangersranger Posts: 469member


    This will definitely be invalidated if Apple tries to use it in a law suit....

  • Reply 17 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    sranger wrote: »
    This will definitely be invalidated if Apple tries to use it in a law suit....

    Whhhhhyyyyyyy?
  • Reply 18 of 59
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

    Whhhhhyyyyyyy?


     


    Oh, good. I didn't have to ask.

  • Reply 19 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,581member
    Oh, good. I didn't have to ask.

    It's like a non-stop game of Whack-a-Troll, isn't it?
  • Reply 20 of 59
    srangersranger Posts: 469member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Whhhhhyyyyyyy?


     


    Prior Art ALL OVER IT.....

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