Forget AirDrop! Apple could soon let you share data between iPhones just by POINTING them at each other

  • Apple filed the patent on May 30, 2018 that describes a new way of sharing data
  • Users would simply point their smartphones at each other to exchange data
  • Devices use  ‘discovery handshake protocol’ to find, connect and identify

Apple added ‘AirDrop’ to its operating system in 2008, which changed the way we shared pictures, documents, videos and more with other iPhone owners.

Now, the tech giant has filed a patent for technology that makes it even easier – users would simply point their smartphones at each other to exchange data.

The document describes sensors or lasers embedded in devices that use a ‘discovery handshake protocol’ to find, connect and identify each other, as first reported on by AppleInsider.

The patent, entitled Device Awareness in Line-of-Sight Optical Communication Systems, was filed on May 30, 2018 and describes ‘a free-space optical communication system that wirelessly transmits, receives or exchanges data.’

However, the patent notes that the devices, which includes iPhones and iPads, must be still and pointing at each other in order to properly exchange data.

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Users would simply point their smartphones at each other to exchange data. The document describes sensors or lasers embedded in devices that use a 'discovery handshake protocol' to find, connect and identify each other

Users would simply point their smartphones at each other to exchange data. The document describes sensors or lasers embedded in devices that use a ‘discovery handshake protocol’ to find, connect and identify each other

‘With the use of mobile electronic devices such as smart phones, tablet computers, and smart wearable devices becoming an indispensable part of modern life,’ reads the patent, ‘device-to-device interaction is expected to become the seamless digital extension of ad-hoc interpersonal communication.’ ‘

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A prerequisite to device-to-device interaction is device-to-device awareness,’ it continues. ‘Device-to-device awareness is defined herein as the capability of electronic devices to discover (identify), map, and track other electronic devices, typically in real time.’ 

Apple says that when devices can start by using a ‘discovery handshake protocol’ to securely find, connect and identify each other.

Similar to how AirDrop displays another user’s name, this technology could present an icon to let iPhone owners now that they are connected to each other’s handsets and can begin exchanging data.

Apple added 'AirDrop' to its operating system in 2008, which changed the way we shared pictures, documents, videos and more with other iPhone owners

Apple added ‘AirDrop’ to its operating system in 2008, which changed the way we shared pictures, documents, videos and more with other iPhone owners

The patent also describes using an ID: ‘In some embodiments, the one-way lock confirmation signal may be transmitted with (or may be) the Host ID in combination with the Guest ID. The one-way lock confirmation signal may alternatively be transmitted with additional or different information.’

AirDrop can only work when a user’s Bluetooth is one, but a recent report found that Devices that rely on Bluetooth can even be turned into sonic weapons that deliver ear-piercing sounds that can lead to hearing loss.

Researcher Matt Wixey unveiled research at this year’s DefCon in Las Vegas earlier this year that showed how a virus can exploit ‘known weaknesses’ in some devices with speakers to inflict harm.

The devices could be rigged to suddenly play ‘dangerous’ sounds, at either low or high, can damage hearing and leave a person disoriented, reports Mashable.

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