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Apple applies for iOS App-sharing patent

Apple has applied for a patent on technology which would allow iDevice users to recommend or share their favourite Apps.

Currently, if you want your friends to try out Angry Birds or whatever, they would have to manually go to the iTunes App Store, find the right bit of software, and download it themselves.

The technology outlined in the patent in question would seed a download link from one device to another using Wi-fi or Bluetooth, allowing the application to be downloaded automatically.

Much of the patent mentions demo Apps and suggests that, if people eventually stump up for the full version of the software, the person who made the recommendation could be rewarded with iTunes credit, cold, hard cash or more free software.

There is also provision in the patent to allow commercial premises to attach a 'fixed location sharing device' to a wireless access point seeding the download link to people who visit that location.

For example, your local cinema could recommend an App to your device which gave details of screening times and special offers.

Developers will be able to set restrictions and time limits on downloaded Apps to encourage the 'buy' bit of 'try-before-you-buy'.