Apple could finally be ready to embrace NFC [near field communication] technology if a recent patent filing is anything to go by with the new iPhone 5S and 5C likely to be the first to feature the technology.
The Register report that a 63-page patent application has been filed that gives a detailed description of Apple’s hunger to enable iPhone users to “gift” digital content to each other using NFC.
Apple filed application number 201302111971 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in March and “Media Gifting Devices and Methods” explains how users can bring their NFC-enabled device in range of another and transfer files.
The patent filing shows that a “gifter” sends an item to a “giftee” and if there’s a network connection then the gifter’s account would be charger for sending the media file to the giftee. This would work with Apple’s iTunes Store and allow an easier method of sending songs, videos, games and apps to other Apple users.
When a network connection isn’t available, the giftee’s device would save a locked version of the file until they’re in range of a connection when the content provider would eventually charge the gifter for the content. Gifters will also be able to group files together and send them in bulk, which would be useful if the person sending files wanted to compile a playlist to send someone on a special occasion.
NFC has long been rumoured to be on Apple’s list of features that it wanted add to its smartphones and back in July leaked specs of the iPhone 5S revealed that the contactless technology was likely to feature.
The patent filings give the best indication yet that Apple will include NFC and follow the legion of Android smartphones that already have the technology on board as standard.