California Intellectual Property Blog


Apple’s Latest Patent To Allow App Sharing In Real Time

iphone-appsSan Diego – While desktop computers allow multiple users to share and collaborate on a single application in real time, such a feature has been limited with mobile devices. With Apple’s latest patent, this idea is now mobile. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently granted Apple a patent that allows two or more iPhone or iPad users to collaborate and work from the same app in real time.

Unlike some of Apple’s programs such as Continuity and Handoff which allow users to save their progress in an app, and pick up where they left off on another device, this invention allows two users to experience the same app together at the same time.

With the new sharing app, a “host” can invite another to view certain apps on their device such as their calendar or a work project and then collaborate on that same app in real time. Once the invite has been accepted, the two devices are able to share and interact with each other.

Other more interesting uses might be the ability to share a book or movie among devices using Facetime. This would allow a user to view the screen of another person’s device while simultaneously having a Facetime conversation. For example, this remote shared experience would allow a mother to remotely read a bedtime story to her child while away on travel.

Thus far it is not clear if the feature will be available on Apple TV. If it is, the ability to easily share TV shows and movies may create copyright issues in that it would allow a person who has purchased a movie to share it remotely with someone who hasn’t.

Apple states that a key feature of the new app is updated privacy settings that can be altered. A user will be able to easily limit what the second viewer has access to. The data or screen sharing could be limited to only Facetime calls for example, or certain apps could remain hidden to the other viewer.

Apple products have allowed for data sharing between multiple devices in the past. However, the new real time capabilities are likely to create interesting new possibilities for mobile devices.


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